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A Hymn in Praise of the Author of Nature i 
Foreign Plants . . 2 
The Metamorphosis of the Caterpillar 3 
The Silkworm 6 
The Rainbow . 8 
Birds' Nests 10 
Nature an unfailing Source of Pleasure . 12 
Reflections on a Flower-garden 15 
The Phenomena of a Thunder-storm 1 7 
The Ants li» 
The Hail . 22 
Crystallization 24 
The Utility of Storms 26 
Reflections on the Earth and its original Constitution 29 
The Phases of the Moon 31 
Mineral Waters. . 3.3 
The continual Activity of Nature in the Vegetable King- 
dom . .35 
The Beauty and Utility of Meadows and Fields , 38 
The Morning Twilight .... 40 
The Pleasures of the Country . 43 
The Evening Twilight . 44 
The Ephemeron Fly . . . 45 
Nothing perishes in Nature . , 47 
Difference of Zones . 50 
Singularities of the Sea , . 52 
The different Shades observable in Flowers . . 55 
The great Heats of Summer . 57 


Different Instincts and remarkable Properties in Animals 59 
The Human Face 62 
On the Gravity of Bodies . 64 
Various Effects in Nature proceed from the same Cause . 66 
Some Diseases of Plants 69 
Means of Subsistence which Nature provides for Animals 71 
A Hymn of Praise . 73 
Varieties in the Stature of Man . ib. 
A Meditation on the Works of Nature 74 
An Exhortation to praise God 76 
Vegetation of the Stalk of Wheat 77 
The Dog-days . .79 
On different kinds of Air or Gases . 81 
Sleep . 85 
The Divisibility of Matter . 87 
The external Structure of Insects 89 
Comparison between the Senses of Man and those of Ani- 
mals . . 91 
The Thunder . 93 
The Hamster 94 
Superstitious Opinions relative to the Design of the Ani- 
mal Kingdom 98 
Contemplations on a Meadow 100 
Mischief occasioned by Animals 102 
Variety of Colours 104 
The Buildings of the Beaver 106 
The Manner in which the Nutrition of the Human Body is 

effected . . 109 

Nature considered in different Points of View 111 

Damages which may be occasioned by Rain . 113 

Parental Care of Animals 115 

Various Kinds of extraordinary Rain 117 

Sensibility of Plants . . 119 

The Fear of Storms 121 

Summer exhibits Emblems of Death . 123 

Causes of the Heat of the Earth . 126 



Variety of Plants . . ^3 

General Reflections on the Animal Kingdom 1 30 

The Division of the Earth . 132 

The Nature and Properties of Light . 135 

The Formation of Birds . . 137 

Reflections on the Sky . 140 

Moral Reflections on a Corn-field 142 

On Metals . 144 

Shell-fish . 146 

On the Government of God 148 

A Harvest Hymn . .150 
Thanksgiving for God's Providential Care of his Creatures 151 

A Hymn to the Praise of the Most High . 152 

The Omnipresence of God 153 

The Beauty and Variety of Butterflies . ib. 

The Growth of Trees 155 

The Ant-Lion . 157 

Conformity between Plants and Animals 1.60 

The Nature and Properties of Sound 162 

Mysteries of Nature . 164 

The Eyes of Animals 167 

Fish 170 

The Propagation of Animals . 172 

The Influence of the Moon on the Human Body 175 

The Ignis Fatuus 177 

The Mineral Kingdom . 179 

Some of the principal Exotic Plants • 132 

Reflections on Myself 18 6" 
The Strength of the Human Body compared with that of 

Animals . i89 
The Instinct of the Butterfly relative to the Propagation of 

its Species . 191 
On Electricity 193 
The Vine !96 
A Hymn to Celebrate the Works of Creation and Provi- 
dence . * "" 


's Womb 21f> 




The Wonders which God performs Daily . . 199 

Digestion . . 201 

The Prevalence of Good over Evil in this World 203 

Enmity among Animals . • . 206 

The Moral Uses of the Night . . 209 
The Causes of Men's Indifference about the Works of 

Nature . .211 
On Several Nocturnal Meteors 
The Formation of the Child in its Mother 1 
Of Amphibious Animals 
The Perfection of the Works of God 
Fruit . 
Psalm cxlvii. imitated 

The Universe invited to praise God 228 

A Hymn to the Praise of God 229 

Of Finding the Distances of the Heavenly Bodies 230 

The Effects of Fire . , 233 

The Instinct and Industry of Birds . . 235 

Animal Reproduction 237 

The Organs of Taste 240 

The Government of God with respect to Natural Events 242 

The inexhaustible Riches of Nature . . 244 

Petrifactions . . . 246 

All the Operations of Nature are gradual . 248 

The Fall of the Leaf . . 251 

The Starry Heavens 253 

Different Kinds of Earth . 255 

Wine . 25? 

The Migration of Birds , 260 

Variety of Trees . . . 262 
Temperature of the Weather in different Regions of the 

Earth . 265 

The Atmosphere of the Earth . 268 

Annual Proportion between Births and Deaths . 270 

Devastations in the Kingdom of Nature . . 272 

The Circulation of the Blood . 275 




Proportions of the different Parts of the Human Body 278 

Of Navigation . . . 281 

Beasts of Draught and Burden . 283 

Winter Seed-Time . . . 286 

God's Particular Providence . 287 

The Measure and Divisions of Time 289 

The End of Summer . 292 

The Magnificence of God in the Works of Creation 294 

The Law of Inertia . 297 

The Wants of Men . 300 

On Presentiments . 303 

A Hymn on the Power and Providence of God 304 

A Hymn of Praise 306 

Marine Animals . 307 

The Wisdom of God in connecting all Parts of Nature . 308 

Bed . . . 311 

Reflections on the Past Summer . 314 

Inconveniences of the Night . 316 

Lines and Planes in Astronomy 318 

Reflections upon Woods . 320 

The Sense of Feeling in Animals . ... 323 
A Recollection of the Benefits which we have enjoyed in 

Spring and Summer . . . 326 
Foreign Animals 328 
Variety of Winds 331 
The Chase . . 333 
Dreams . 335 
The Universe is connected together, and every Part con- 
curs to the Preservation and Perfection of the Whole 338 
Common Salt . 340 
The Origin of Fountains . . 342 
Human Hair . 345 
The System of the World 347 
Lobsters . . . 349 
The Convenient and Advantageous Situation of all Parts 

of the Human Body . . . 351 


Order and Regularity of Nature 

Of Winter in the Northern Countries 

Transformations in Nature • 

The Greatness of God discernible in little Things 

Gradual Increase of the Cold . . . 

Reflections on Snow 

Sleep of Animals during Winter 

Use of Storms . • • 

Fortuitous Events . ... 

The Majesty of God 

Motives for Contentment 

Gratitude at the Remembrance of past Mercies 

A Hymn of Praise 

The Meridians . . 

The Era of the Creation of the World and the Formation 
of Man 

The Utility of Different Kinds of Timber 

Remarkable Properties of certain Animals 

The Formation of Snow . . . , 

Winter Plants ... 

An Exhortation to remember the Poor during the Severity 
of the Winter. 

Nature is a School for the Heart . 

The Divine Goodness manifested to us, even in Things 
which appear hurtful 

Casual Revolutions on our Globe . 

Gratitude for Clothing 

The Clothing of Animals 

Thoughts on the Ravages of Winter . 

The Orang-Outang . 

Sagacity of Animals in procuring their Winter's Subsist- 
ence .... 

The Advantages of Winter 

The Elements 

The Sun's Influence on the Earth 

Tempestuous Winter Rains . 








Judicial Astrology . . . 430 

The Polar Star ... . 433 

Effects of Air when confined in Bodies . . 435 

Music . ... . 437 

Men compared with other Animals . . , 439 

A Calculation concerning the Resurrection . 441 

Reflections on the Nativity of Christ . . 443 

The Place of Christ's Nativity . . . 446 

The Care which God takes of Men from their Birth 448 

The Term of Human Life . . . .451 

The Instability of Earthly Things . . . 453 

How Time is generally employed . . 455 

A Hymn of Thanksgiving at the Close of the Year 458 




How great art thou, O Lord, my God ! The earth 
proclaims thy majesty, and the heavens are the throne 
of thy glory. Thou hast said, Let them be ! and, at 
thy command, they were extended in the immensity of 

The thunder causes thy praise to resound; and in 
formidable array thou walkest on the wings of the light- 
ning ! I perceive thee in the splendour of the sun ; and 
see thee in the flowers which deck our fields. 

Is there a God like unto our God ? Who is it that 
walks on the winds? Who holds the thunder in his 
hands ? Who commands the lightning to blaze through 
the forests ? 

It is thou, thou alone, O Lord ! thousands of worlds 
glorify thee : thou hast given them their being ; but at thy 
threatening they flee away — are annihilated, or assume 
a new form. 

The whole creation is a Temple erected to thy glory. 
In it thou hearest thy praises celebrated; millions of 
celestial choirs adore thee with songs of thanksgiving. 

All celebrate thy glory, from the seraph, who beholds 
thy face, to the most insignificant worm which crawls on 
the earth. The creatures which now exist, and those 
which are in embryo, are all under thy government, all 
submit to thy authority. 

What is man, that child of dust, that thou shouldest 
set thy heart upon him ! O God, in whom I put my 


2 JULY I. 

trust, I adore and bless thee, for all the mercies I have 
received from thy hand. 

Thou hast placed me in a distinguished rank ; the in- 
habitants of the sea, of the air, of the fields, and forests, 
are put under me ; all the creatures here below acknow- 
ledge me for their sovereign. 

O Jehovah ! how magnificent is thy name ! thy praise 
resounds to the limits of the universe ; thy works pro- 
claim thy glory, from eternity to eternity ! 


All our different kinds of corn, and a great number 
of our vegetables, derive their origin from strange coun- 
tries, commonly warmer than ours. Most of them come 
from Italy ; Italy had them from Greece ; and Greece, 
from the East. When America was discovered, a mul- 
titude of plants and flowers, hitherto unknown, were 
then found and transported into Europe, where they 
have been cultivated with much success. Even now the 
English are at a great deal of trouble to cultivate several 
North American productions in their own country. 

The greater part of the different kinds of corn, which 
make the best nourishment both for man and beast, are 
grass plants ; but, though they at present cover our fields 
they are nevertheless exotics. Rye and wheat are na- 
tives of Little Tartary and Siberia, where they still grow 
without cultivation. Whence barley and oats come, we 
know not ; but are sure they are not natives of our 
countries ; were it otherwise, they would not require cul- 
tivation. Rice is a production of Ethiopia, whence it 
was first carried into the East, and afterwards into Italy. 
Since the commencement of the eighteenth century, it 
has been cultivated in America ; and at present they send 
vessels annually into Europe, laden with this useful grain. 
The French or Buck wheat comes originally from Asia ; 
the crusaders brought it to Italy, whence the Germans 
received it. 

Most of our vegetables have a similar origin. Borage' 
comes from Syria ; cresses, from Crete ; the cauliflower, 
from Cyprus ; and asparagus, from Asia. We are in- 


debted to Italy for the chervil ; to Portugal and Spain, 
for the dill ; for fennel, to the Canaries ; and for anise 
and parsley, to Egypt. Garlic is a production of the East ; 
cives came from Siberia; and radishes, from China. 
For the kidney-bean we are indebted to the East Indies ; 
for the gourd, to Astracan ; for lentiles, to France ; and 
for potatoes, to Brazil. The Spaniards brought tobacco 
into Europe in 1530, from Tobaca, a province of Yucatan, 
in New Spain. 

The ornaments of our gardens, the most beautiful 
flowers, are all foreign productions. Jessamine comes 
from the East Indies; the Spanish alder, from Persia; 
the tulip, from Cappadocia ; the narcissus, from Italy ; 
the lily, from Syria ; the tuberose, from Java and Ceylon ; 
the pink, from Italy; the aster, from China, &c. 

Let us acknowledge, with gratitude, these various pre- 
sents from heaven. With what goodness has the Lord 
provided for our pleasure and happiness — in rendering 
even the most distant countries tributary to us ! But let 
us learn also to know the constitution of the globe on 
which we dwell. There is a universal transmigra- 
tion upon the earth. Men, animals, and vegetables are 
transplanted from one region to another. And this 
transmigration shall end only with our globe. 

Into whatever part of the world it may please thee, 
Lord, to transport me, may I endeavour to act uprightly, 
and bring forth fruit, not only for the good of my con- 
temporaries, but also of posterity ; until I arrive in those 
regions of bliss and perfection, where nothing shall be 
subject to change ! 



The transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly is 
certainly one of the most curious phenomena of nature, 
and highly merits our attention. The manner in which 
caterpillars prepare themselves for their change is truly 
astonishing. They do not immediately become butter- 
flies ; but they pass to it through a middle state. After 

B 2 


having cast their skins three or four times, they strip off 
their last coat, and become a substance which in no 
respect resembles a living creature'. They then wrap 
themselves up in a hard shelly covering, called the chry- 
salis or aurelia, and which somewhat resembles a child in 
its swaddling clothes. In this state they continue two 
or three weeks, sometimes six or ten months ; till at 
length they issue from this species of sepulchre, under 
the form of' butterflies. 

There are properly two kinds of butterflies ; the wings 
of the one are raised, those of the others lie flat. The 
first fly during the day; the latter, during the night 
The caterpillars of the nocturnal butterflies, or phalense, 
spin themselves a cone, and shut themselves in it when 
the time of their transformation approaches. Those 
which are to be diurnal butterflies hang themselves in 
the open air to a tree, a plant, a lath, a wall, or some 
such thing. In order to this, they make themselves a 
very small web, with very fine thread ; and then, turning 
themselves upside down, they suspend themselves so that 
their head inclines a little towards the top. Some cater- 
pillars, and especially the hairy or prickly ones, continue 
suspended in this state perpendicularly, with the head 
downward. Others spin themselves a thread which goes 
round the middle of their bodies, and is fastened at both 
sides. In one or other of these two. ways all the diurnal 
butterflies prepare themselves for the grand change which 
they are to undergo. Thus, the two species of caterpil- 
lars, the diurnal and the phalenae, bury themselves alive, 
so to speak, and seem to wait patiently the end of their 
caterpillar state, as if they foresaw that after a short 
repose they should receive a new existence, and should 
manifest themselves under a splendid form. 

The death and resurrection of the just cannot be better 
compared than to the metamorphosis of the caterpillar 
into a butterfly. To genuine Christians, death is only a 
species of sleep ; a sweet rest after the pains and mise- 
ries of this life ; a moment, during which they are de- 
prived of life and motion, only that they may appear 
afterwards with more glory, and enter into a new and 
better state of existence. 

What is a caterpillar ? A blind, creeping, despicable 


worm, which, while it drags on its life, is exposed to an 
infinity of accidents and persecutions ; and has man a 
better state in this world ? 

The caterpillar prepares itself with the 'greatest care 
for its change, and for that state of inaction and weak- 
ness in which, for a short time, it must remain. It is 
exactly the same with a true believer. Before death 
comes, he prepares for this great revolution ; and he waits 
with tranquillity and joy the happy moment in which he 
shall enter into a better state. 

The sleep of the caterpillar does not last for ever ; it is 
only the forerunner of a new perfection. After its change 
it appears in a more pleasing and splendid form. First 
it creeps upon the ground ; afterwards it springs up, and 
mounts into the air by means of its wings. At first it 
was blind ; now it is provided with good eyes, and enjoys 
a thousand pleasing sensations, which were unknown to 
it before. Lately, it stupidly confined itself to a very 
gross nourishment. At present, it goes from flower to 
flower, lives on honey and dew, and varies its pleasures 

In all this, we may observe a lively emblem of the 
death and resurrection of a righteous man. His weak 
and earthly body shows itself after the resurrection in a 
brilliant, glorious, and perfect state. As a mortal man, 
he was attached to the earth, subject to various passions, 
and occupied with sensual and terrestrial objects. But 
after the resurrection, his body is no longer confined to 
the earth ; he soars above thousands of worlds ; and, 
with a steady and penetrating eye, he takes in all nature 
at one view. His soul rises infinitely higher still; he 
approaches the Deity, and is absorbed in the most sub- 
lime meditations. Before his death, he Avas compara- 
tively blind in his search after truth ; now he sees and 
can contemplate its greatest lustre. His body being 
spiritual, glorious, and incorruptible, he no longer desires 
gross aliments to satisfy his hunger and thirst ; different 
sensations constitute his felicity at present ; he lives on 
heavenly food, and his heart overflows with unmixed 

Reader, does not this teach thee an important lesson ? 
If this be the glorious change thou expectest, make a 


timely and effectual preparation for it " If our present 
state be but transitory and imperfect, let us not make it 
our chief object, nor our end. Let not the few moments 
we have here appear to us with the consequence of 
eternity !" 



The genus of caterpillars, which is divided into general 
classes, one of which comprehends the diurnal, the other 
the nocturnal butterflies, is farther divided into different 
families, each of which has its distinct characteristics 
and properties. To one of these families the appellation 
of silkworm is given. This caterpillar, like the other, is 
composed of several moveable rings; and is well pro- 
vided with feet and claws, to catch hold, and fix itself 
wherever it pleases. It has two rows of teeth, which do 
not act upwards and downwards, as ours do ; but from 
right to left, which it uses to saw, cut, and slope out the 
leaves. All along the back, we may see through its skin 
a vessel which seems to contract and dilate at intervals ; 
and which performs the functions of the heart. At each 
side this animal has nine orifices, which answer to so 
many lungs, and assist the .circulation of the chyle, or 
nutritive juice. 

Under the mouth it has a sort of reel, with two holes, 
from which it emits two drops of gum, with which its 
bag is filled. These are like two distaffs, which con- 
tinually furnish the matter of which it makes its thread. 
The gum which runs through the two orifices, takes that 
form, and lengthens out into a double thread, which 
immediately loses the fluidity of the liquor of which it 
was formed, and acquires the consistence necessary to 
support or wrap up the worm when the proper time is 
come. It connects the two threads into one, gluing them 
together by means of its fore paws. This double thread, 
notwithstanding it is very fine, is nevertheless strong, and 
of an astonishing length. Each is formed of a thread 
500 German ells long. And as this thread is double 


through its whole length, each cone contains 1000 ells, 
the whole of which weighs only two grains and a half* ! 

The life of this animal, while it is in its caterpillar 
state, is very short. Nevertheless, it passes through dif- 
ferent states, which insensibly bring it to perfection. 
When it comes out of the egg it is extremely small, and 
perfectly black ; but its head is of a more shining black 
than the rest of its body. Some days after, it begins to 
grow whitish, or of a dark grey; afterwards its coat 
becomes dirty and ragged: then it throws it off, and 
appears in a new dress. It now becomes much larger 
and whiter, but a little tinged with green, because it 
feeds on green leaves. After a few days, the number of 
which varies according to the degree of heat and the 
nature of its food, it ceases to eat, sleeps nearly two 
days, then frets, is exceedingly agitated, and becomes 
almost red with the efforts it makes : its skin wrinkles 
and shrivels up ; it then throws it off a second time, and 
throws it aside with its feet. Thus, in three weeks or 
a month, it has two new dresses. It begins then to eat 
afresh, and might pass for another animal; its head, 
colour, and whole form being so very different from what 
they were before. 

After having fed for a few days, it falls again into a 
kind of lethargy ; in recovering from which it once more 
changes its garment. This is the third skin it has thrown 
off since it came out of the shell. It continues to eat a 
little longer ; then, renouncing all food, it prepares itself 
a retreat, and draws off its reel a thread with which it 
covers itself in the same manner as we would wind 
thread about an oval piece of wood. This covering con- 
sists of threads of silk extremely fine. It rests quietly 
in the cone which it has spun ; and at the end of fifteen 
days it eats its way out, if it be not killed by being ex- 
posed to the heat of the sun, or that of an oven. The 
silk cones are thrown into warm water, and stirred about 
with twigs to remove the loose threads ; and then the 
silk is wound off in a reel, made expressly for the 

Thus it is to a worm or caterpillar that we owe the 
luxury of our clothing. By means of that liquor 
whence it derives its thread, it furnishes us with silk 


and velvet. This reflection is well calculated to humble 
us. What ! can we be vain of the silk we wear ? Let 
us consider to whom we owe it, and how little we our- 
selves contribute to that which ministers to our vanity. 
Let us consider that even the most despicable things 
have been created for the use and gratification of man. 
A worm, which we can scarcely deign to honour with a 
look, becomes a blessing to whole provinces ; a consider- 
able object of commerce, and a source of riches. 

Many persons resemble the silkworm in this; they 
pass a great part of their lives in feeding their bodies : 
but how few of them render themselves useful to the 
world by their labours ! Let us henceforward consecrate, 
with a noble zeal, our strength and talents to the good 
of our fellow-creatures ; and incessantly labour to render 
them happy. 



When the sun darts his rays on the drops of water 
that fall from a cloud, and when we are so placed that 
our backs are towards the sun, and have the cloud before 
us, then we see a rainbow. The drops of rain may be 
considered as small transparent globes, on which the rays 
fall, and are twice refracted, and once reflected ; hence 
the colours of the rainbow, which are seven in number, 
and are arranged in the following order — red, orange, 
yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These colours 
appear so much the more vivid, as the cloud behind is 
darker, and the drops of rain fall thick and fast. The 
drops falling continually produce a new rainbow every 
moment ; and as each spectator has his particular situa- 
tion, from which he observes this phenomenon, it so 
happens that no two men, properly speaking, can see the 
same rainbow. This meteor can last no longer than the 
drops of rain continue to fall. 

If we consider the rainbow merely as a phenomenon 
of nature, it is one of the finest sights imaginable. It 
is the most beautiful coloured picture which the Creator 


has placed before our eyes. But when we recollect that 
God has made this meteor a sign of his mercy, and of 
the covenant which he has condescended to enter into 
with man, then we shall find matter in it for the most 
edifying reflection. When the rain is general, there can 
be no rainbow ; as often, therefore, as we see this beau- 
tiful meteor, we may conclude, with certainty, that we 
need fear no deluge ; for to effect one there must be a 
violent rain from all parts of the heavens at once. Thus, 
when the sky is only covered on one side with clouds, 
and the sun is seen in the other, it is a proof that these 
gloomy clouds shall be shortly dispersed, and the heavens 
become serene. Hence it is that a rainbow cannot be 
seen unless the sun be behind, and the rain before us. 
In order to> the formation of the bow, it is necessary that 
the sun and the rain should be seen at the same time. 
If the sky be too bright, no colom-s can be seen ; there- 
fore, where this phenomenon appears, the horizon must 
be covered with dark clouds. Besides, there can be no 
coloured bow without the action of the sun, and the 
refraction of his rays. All these considerations should 
naturally lead us to pious reflections. 

As often as we see the heavens adorned with the 
beautiful colours of this bow, should we not say to our- 
selves, How great is the Majesty of God in everything 
his hands have formed ! How great is his goodness 
towards his creatures ! Still we see that God remembers 
the world in mercy. Let all mankind bow before and 
adore him who keeps his covenant, and fulfils his mer- 
ciful promises. He has not as yet destroyed the world, 
and he never will drown it. Let his name be adored 
and blessed to all eternity ! 

But there is another reflection which the rainbow 
should lead us to make : when we see it, we have the 
rain in our face, and the sun behind us. This is an 
emblem of life ; our faces may be bathed with tears, yet 
the Sun of Righteousness shall rise upon us with healing 
on his wings ; Mai. iv. 2. 

b 3 



The construction of nests shows us a multitude of 
remarkable objects, which cannot be considered with 
indifference by a reflecting mind that delights in in- 

Who can help admiring those little regular edifices, 
composed of so many different materials, collected and 
arranged with so much skill and labour; constructed 
with so much industry, elegance, and neatness, with- 
out any other tools than a beak and two feet! It is 
not astonishing that man can erect great edifices accord- 
ing to all the rules of art, especially when we consider 
that these artists are endued with reason, and that they 
have instruments and materials in abundance. But that 
a bird, which is destitute of almost every requisite for 
such a work, which has only its bill and feet, should, not- 
withstanding, be capable of uniting so much address, 
regularity, and solidity, in constructing its nest, is what 
cannot be too much admired. But this deserves to be 
more particularly considered. 

Nothing is more wonderful than the nest of a gold- 
finch. The inside is lined with cotton, fur, and fine 
silky thread. The outside is formed of thick moss ; and 
that the nest may be less remarkable, and less exposed 
to the eyes of passengers, the colour of the moss chosen 
for the purpose resembles that of the bark of the tree or 
bush in which the nest is built. There are some nests 
in which the hair, down, straw, &c. are curiously crossed 
and interwoven. There are others, the pieces of which 
are neatly joined and tied together with a thread, which 
the bird makes out of fur, hemp, hair, but more com- 
monly with spiders' webs. Other birds, as the blackbird 
and lapwing, after having made their nests, plaster them 
with a thin coat of mortar, which connects and fastens 
all that is below, and which, by the help of a little down 
or moss, which they attach to the mortar while soft, is 
very proper to render the nest warm. Swallows' nests 
are of a very different structure from all others. They 

birds' nests. 11 

need neither wood, hay, nor flax. They understand how- 
to make a kind of plaster, or cement, with which they 
form for themselves and all their family a neat, secure, 
and convenient lodging. In order to moisten the dust, 
of which they make their nest, they pass and repass 
close to the surface of the water, and wet their breast; 
then with the dew which they sprinkle over the dust 
they saturate it sufficiently, and work it up with their 

But the nests which deserve to he admired most are 
those of certain Indian birds, which they artfully sus- 
pend to the branches of trees, to defend them from the 
ravages of several animals and insects. Each species of 
birds has its peculiar manner of placing its nest. Some 
place them in houses, others in trees. Some under the 
grass, some in the earth ; but always in such a manner as 
may best contribute to their security, the rearing of their 
young, and the preservation of their species. 

Such is the wonderful instinct of birds in the con- 
struction and disposition of their nests ; and from this 
may we not certainly conclude that they are not simple 
machines ! How much industry and understanding, cun- 
ning and sagacity, activity and patience, do they mani- 
fest in the construction of their nests ! And is it not 
evident that in their work they propose to themselves 
certain ends ? They make their nest like a hollow 
hemisphere, that the heat may be the better contained 
in it. The outside of the nest is covered with matters 
more or less coarse, not only to serve as a founda- 
tion, but also to keep out the wind, and prevent the 
entrance of insects. The inside is lined with more deli- 
cate materials, such as wool, feathers, &c, so that their 
young may lie soft and warm. 

Is it not a species of reason that teaches the bird to 
place her nest so as to be sheltered from the rain, and 
out of the reach of rapacious animals ? Where has she 
learned that she is to have eggs, and that there must be 
a nest to prevent them from falling to the ground, and 
to keep them warm. "Who has taught her that the nest 
must not be too large, as the heat would not then be 
properly concentrated about the eggs ? and that it must 
not be too small, because, in that case, there would not be 


room sufficient to hold the young ? How does she know 
to make the nest in just proportion to the number of the 
young who axe to be hatched ? Who has taught her the 
exact time, and to calculate so correctly, that she never 
lays her eggs before her nest is finished ? All that has 
been said hitherto, in answer to these and similar ques- 
tions, is quite unsatisfactory, and does not account for 
these mysteries of nature. We have not a sufficient 
knowledge of the souls of animals to answer such 

But however it may be, and of whatever nature the 
faculties of birds are, it is at least certain that they are 
the effect of a wise and powerful cause. And as the 
animals have not a capacity to know their Creator, let 
us use the reason with whioh he has endowed us, to 
increase continually in divine knowledge, employing all 
our faculties to glorify our omniscient Creator ! 



Let us turn our eyes to whatever part of the creation 
we please, we everywhere find something that interests 
cither our senses, our imagination, or our reason. 

Universal nature is formed to present us with a mul- 
titude of pleasing objects, and to procure those varied 
pleasures which continually succeed each other. The 
taste we have for variety is continually excited, and 
always gratified. There is no part of the day but brings 
new pleasures, either to our senses or imagination. 
While the sun is above the horizon, plants, animals, and 
a thousand pleasing objects attract our notice ; and when 
the curtains of the night are let down, the majesty of 
the firmament transports and charms us. Everywhere 
nature labours to surprise us with new pleasures. The 
smallest worm, a leaf, or a grain of sand, presents us 
with subjects of admiration. 

Blind and stupid we must be, if we are not struck 
with that infinite diversity, and do not acknowledge in 
it the goodness of the Creator. The same spring that 


waters the valley quenches our thirst, pleases our ear, 
and invites us to sleep. The shady forest, which defends 
us from the intense heat of the sun, where we find such 
melodious coolness, and where we hear the varied me- 
melody of so many hirds, nourishes also a multitude of 
animals which are themselves food for us. The same 
trees, whose blossoms delighted our eyes a few months 
ago, will soon produce delicious fruits; and the fields, 
now covered with waving corn, will soon furnish us with 
plentiful crops. 

Nature presents us with no object which is useful to 
us in one respect only. Providence has kindly chosen 
the green colour, which is so refreshing and friendly to 
the eye, to be the covering of the whole earth. This, 
of itself, would be sufficient to cheer our sight; but 
variety has added new charms to it : hence that skilful 
blending of colour, those different gradations of light 
and shade, and those different degrees of green, from 
the brightest to the most dark. Every family of plants 
has its peculiar and constant colour. Landscapes covered 
with woods, brambles, pulse, grass, and corn, present us 
with a magnificent picture, where the tints of green are 
infinitely diversified, crossing and intersecting each 
other, and blending themselves, so as to be insensibly 
melted into each other, and yet always in perfect har- 

Every month of the year presents us with different 
plants, and new flowers. Those which have served their 
purpose are replaced by others ; and all coming in suc- 
cession, prevent any void in the vegetable kingdom. 

But to whom do we owe all these numerous and 
diversified presents? Who is it that provides for our 
wants and pleasures with so much goodness and muni- 
ficence ? 

" Go and ask universal nature ; the hills and the val- 
lies will tell thee ; the earth points him out ; and the 
heavens are a mirror, in which we may view his glories. 
Storms and tempests proclaim him ; the voice of thunder, 
the rainbow, the snow, and the rain publish his wisdom 
and goodness. The green meads, the fields covered 
with ripe corn; the mountains covered with forests, 
which lift their heads above the clouds ; the trees laden 

14 JULY VI. 

with fruit j the gardens enamelled with flowers; and 
the rose, with all its brilliant dress, all bear the impress 
of his hands. The birds celebrate him with their melo- 
dious notes. The bounding flocks ; the stag in the midst 
of the forests ; the worm of the earth ; the whale, the 
king of the seas, that spouts the waves on high, over- 
turning and drowning ships ; the terrible crocodile, and 
that moving mountain, the majestic elephant, the carrier 
of towers ; all the innumerable host of animals which 
people the air, the earth, and the sea, declare the exist- 
ence and proclaim the glory of the strong God." 

How unpardonable should we be, were we deaf to 
this general voice of nature ! Let us, who are so fa- 
voured as to be the spectators of the wonders of our 
God, come and render him (in the presence of his 
creatures) that homage, gratitude, and adoration which 
he has so just a right to claim from us. Let us not shut 
our ears against the voice of his grace! Let us not 
harden our hearts against the kind invitations of his 
goodness ! Let us look around us ; everything brings 
his kindness to our remembrance; everything prompts 
us to gratitude and joy. The rich lands, where our 
nourishment grows; the fields, where the flocks feedj 
the .forests, which provide both shelter and fuel ; the 
heavens, which cover and enlighten us ; all, all invite 
us to grateful joy. Let praise fill our whole souls. Let 
a due sense of our advantages and the mercies of our 
God accompany us, both in public and in private. We 
shall find that no satisfaction is more solid, durable, or 
more suitable to human nature, than the calm pleasure 
which a contemplation of the works of the Lord affords. 
The more we study the beauties of nature, the more we 
shall be persuaded that God is a being of mercy and 
love ; and that the Christian religion is a source of joy, 
and a continual motive to gratitude and adoration. 



Let us now take a view of the flower-garden, and 
consider the numerous and diversified beauties which 
are collected in so small a space. The art and industry 
of man have made it a superb theatre of the most beau- 
tiful flowers. But what would this garden be without 
care and cultivation ? A wild desert, producing nothing 
but thorns and thistles. Such is youth, when a proper 
education is neglected. But when young persons re- 
ceive the necessary instructions early, and are brought 
under proper discipline, they are like lovely flowers, 
whose appearance is now delightful, and who will shortly 
bring forth fruit useful to society. 

Behold the night-violet, which towards evening scents 
our gardens with its perfume ! All other odours are 
absorbed in this. But it has no beauty, and scarcely 
resembles a flower. It is small, and of a grey colour, 
inclining to green, so that it scarcely can be distinguished 
from the leaves. Modest, without show or pretensions, 
it perfumes the whole garden, though it can scarcely be 
noticed in the multitude; and it is difficult to believe 
that a flower of so mean appearance can produce an 
odour so sweet and pleasing. It resembles a person who 
is not beautiful, but who has a fine understanding ; and 
whose outward deficiency Providence has amply com- 
pensated by the most durable gifts. The righteous man 
often does good in secret, and diffuses all around him 
the odour of good works. And when we wish to be 
acquainted with this beneficent man, we find that there 
is nothing peculiarly distinguishing in his external ap- 
pearance or rank. 

But in the carnation both beauty and a fine scent are 
united ; and it is, without doubt, the most beautiful of 
all flowers. It almost equals the tulip in its colours, 
and it surpasses it in the multitude of its leaves, and in 
the elegance of its form. A little bed of carnations 
perfumes a whole flower-garden. This flower is the 



emblem of a person, in whom sense and beauty are 
united, and who knows how to conciliate the love and 
respect of his fellow-creatures. 

Let us now observe the rose : its colour, form, and 
scent are all pleasing; but it appears to be the most 
weak and transitory of all ; it soon lose* those charms 
which distinguish it from other flowers. This is a useful 
lesson to those who have great beauty, and from which 
they may learn not to trust in their charms, or be vain 
of their short-lived excellence. 

In general, it is a melancholy thing to see the ground, 
in this beautiful season, covered with so many fallen 
withered flowers. But we should not complain that 
Providence has given so little stability to flowers. The 
world is a great theatre, on which the same actors do 
not always appear ; it is right that those who have acted 
their part should go off the stage, to make way for 
others. The diversity of the works of God requires 
this ; and the diversity constitutes a great part of their 
perfection. Besides, the charms of novelty affect us 
most ; therefore the former objects should give place to 
new ones. If the flowers preserved their splendour for 
a whole year, they would not please us so well as they 
now do by lasting only a few months. Their absence 
causes us to long for their return ; on the contrary, their 
continual presence would satiate and disgust us. After 
having considered an object in all points of view, we 
have in some sort exhausted its beauties, begin to feel 
indifference to it, and then aspire after new pleasures. 
The variety and continual succession of earthly goods is 
a means which Providence employs to make our lives 
continually pleasant. 

Such is worldly happiness. All flesh is grass, and the 
glory of man is like the flower of the field ; the grass 
withereth, and the flower falleth off. The lilies and 
roses of a beautiful face wither, as well as the flowers of 
the garden ; and death leaves no vestige of them behind. 
Let us, therefore, wisely seek rest and happiness in solid 
and eternal good. Wisdom, piety, and the blessings of 
genuine Christianity never fade. They are the inex- 
haustible source of an endless joy. 




However formidable the phenomena of a thunder- 
storm may be, they have something so grand and re- 
markable in them, that the different effects produced by 
them deserve well io be examined. This examination 
is the more necessary, as we are often prevented by ex- 
cessive fear from considering this majestic spectacle with 
sufficient attention. 

When a stormy cloud, which is no other than a col- 
lection of vapours strongly electrified, approaches near 
enough to a tower or a house, or to an unelectrified 
cloud, so that a spark issues from it, that explosion takes 
place which we term a clap of thunder. The lightning 
which we see is the electric fire, or, as some call it, the 
thunderbolt. Sometimes we see only a sudden and 
momentary flash ; at other times, we see a train of fire 
in a zigzag form. The explosion which accompanies 
the lightning shows that the vapours which form the 
thunder, being suddenly agitated and inflamed, dilate 
the air with violence. 

After each electric spark a clap is heard ; this is the 
thunder, which is sometimes composed of many claps, 
or is prolonged and multiplied by echoes. There is 
always some interval between the flash and the clap, 
and this may in some degree enable us to judge of the 
greatness and imminency of the danger ; for it requires 
a certain space of time for the sound to reach our ear 
from the place of the cloud; whereas the lightning 
reaches our sight with inconceivable rapidity. As soon, 
therefore, as we perceive the lightning, we have only to 
count the seconds on our watch, or feel how often our 
pulse beats, between the flash and the clap. Whoever 
can count about ten pulsations or seconds, from the time 
he has seen the lightning till he hears the thunder, is a 
quarter of a league distant from the thunder-cloud ; for 
it is calculated that the sound takes the time of forty 
pulsations to pass through the space of a league. 



Lightning does not always proceed in a right line ; it 
often winds about in all directions, takes a zigzag form, 
and sometimes does not flash till very near the ground. 
The matter of the lightning which reaches the earth, or 
is ignited near to it, never fails to strike. But some- 
times it has not a sufficiency of strength to reach us, 
and, like a bomb ill-charged, it is dissipated in the at- 
mosphere, and does no evil. When, on the contrary, 
the ignited exhalations come near the ground, they 
make terrible havoc. But as deserts and uncultivated 
places, and places where there are neither houses nor 
inhabitants, occupy the largest part of our globe, conse- 
quently the lightning may fall many thousands of times 
without doing any real damage. The course of the 
lightning is peculiarly singular, and cannot be ascertained. 
It depends on the direction of the winds, the quantity 
of exhalations, the state of the earth beneath, and other 

Lightning goes in all directions, wherever it may meet 
with combustible matter. As one grain of a train of 
gunpowder, being ignited, communicates the flame to all 
the rest, till the whole train is set on fire ; so lightning 
proceeds on combustible matter, consuming everything 
it meets with. 

We may form some judgment of the power of light- 
ning, by the prodigious effects it produces. The heat of 
the flame is so intense, that it burns and consumes all 
combustible bodies; it melts metallic substances, but 
often leaves uninjured the matters in which they were 
contained, when they are so porous as to give it a free 
passage. It is owing to the velocity of lightning that 
the bones of men and animals are calcined, without the 
flesh being hurt ; that the most solid buildings are beat 
down; that trees are cloven, or torn up b}' the roots; 
the thickest walls pierced through ; and stones and rocks 
are after broken, and reduced to powder. 

Let us seriously reflect on these strange and formidable 
phenomena. How many wonders does one thunder- 
storm exhibit ! We see a black and gloomy cloud, but 
this is the tabernacle of the Most High ; it descends 
towards the earth, but it is the Lord who bows the hea- 
vens, and comes down, having the darkness under his 


feet, 2 Sam. xxii. 10. The wind arises, the storm 
begins ; but it is God who is in the whirlwind, for he 
walketh on the wings of the wind, Ps. civ. 3. At his 
command the clouds are dispersed, and the hail, the 
lightning, and the thunder fly abroad. Hear attentively 
the terrible sound of his voice, and the threatening 
which proceeds from his mouth. He darts his lightning 
from one end of heaven to the other, and his light to the 
extremities of the earth. Then a terrible voice is heard ; 
the thunder roars, and the blow is already struck, before 
even the lightning is perceived, Job xxvii. 2 — 4. The 
Lord thunders in the heavens ; he darts forth his light- 
nings, and sends them hither and thither ; but though 
his terrible fires alarm the universe, his beneficent hand 
abundantly nourishes all his creatures. 



The ants, as well as .the bees, may be considered as a 
little republic, which has its peculiar government, law, 
and police. They live in a sort of city, divided into 
various streets, all of which terminate at different maga- 
zines. Their diligence and industry, in procuring and 
using the materials they require for the construction of 
their ant-hills, are admirable. They all unite in digging 
the earth, and carrying it afterwards out of their habi- 
tation. They collect a great quantity of stubble, grass, 
and twigs, of which they form a heap. At first sight, 
this appears very irregular; but in the midst of this 
apparent disorder much art may be discovered, when it 
is examined with attention. Under the domes or little 
hills which cover them, and which are always so con- 
trived as to throw off the water, there are galleries 
which communicate with each other, and may be consi- 
sidered as the streets of this little city. 

But what is most remarkable, is the care the ants 
take of their eggs, of the worms which come out of them, 
and of Jhe nymphae which are formed from the latter. 

20 JULY IX. 

They carry them carefully from one place to another ; 
they feed their young, and remove with the most tender 
solicitude whatever might injure them. They even 
take care to maintain a proper degree of warmth around 
them. Their severe labour to collect provisions during 
the summer, has principally for its object the support of 
their young ; for, as to themselves, they have no, need of 
nourishment during winter, since they continue asleep, 
or in a state of insensibility, till the return of the spring. 
As soon as their young come out of the eggs, they are 
employed in feeding them ; and this gives them a great 
deal of trouble ; for in general, they have many houses, 
and they carry their little ones from one habitation to 
some other, which they design to people. According as 
the weather is hot or cold, wet or dry, they bring their 
chrysalises towards the surface of the earth, or carry 
them downward. In mild weather, they bring them 
near the surface ; and sometimes, after rain, they even 
expose them to the sun, or to a gentle clew, after a long 
drought. But when night, cold, or rain approaches, they 
take their dear nurslings in their paws, and descend so 
far in the ground, that one is obliged to dig more than a 
foot deep in order to find them. 

There are several species of these insects. The wood- 
ants never dwell but in forests and thickets, and do no 
damage to the fields. There are two sorts of these, the 
one red, the other black. Some of them lodge in the 
ground, in dry places, and ordinarily choose those parts 
where they find the roots of fir or birch-trees, and there 
fix their habitation. Others establish themselves in old 
trunks of trees, high enough above ground to be out of 
the reach of its humidity. They make themselves apart- 
ments in the cavities of the trunk ; and cover them with 
straw and such like matters, to shelter them from the 
rain and snow. 

The field-ants are also either red or black, like the 
former, but much smaller: they settle either in corn- 
fields, or common pasturages. In dry weather, they 
bury themselves very deep ; but in rainy weather they 
elevate their habitations more or less, according to the 
degree of moisture : but when this abates, they /ail not 


to return to their former subterranean habitations. It is 
farther worthy of observation, that the ants acquire 
wings ; and that towards autumn they are seen in great 
multitudes hovering over ditches, ponds, &c. 

" But do such mischievous insects deserve our notice, 
which make such havoc in our fields and meadows ? By 
their operations under ground, they make the earth hol- 
low, tear it up, and hinder plants and vegetables from 
growing." They are still farther censured. " Ants," it 
is said, " are enemies to bees and silkworms ; do much 
damage to flowers, and injure the roots of young trees." 
It is farther affirmed that " they devour the buds and 
shoots; and that in getting under the bark of trees, they 
gnaw them to the quick, and destroy their growth." 
Hence it is that they are so cruelly persecuted and de- 
stroyed wheresoever they are found. If the ants collected 
honey, though it were at the expense of a million of 
other creatures, they would, notwithstanding, be highly 
valued ; but because their labours injure a few useful 
plants, we imagine ourselves authorized to exterminate 
them. But, supposing even that#they do some hurt, are 
they the less worthy of our attention on that account ? 
Are no animals but such as are of particular use to us, 
worthy of notice ? 

Let us cast aside this prejudice. Even the ants may 
contribute something to our instruction and amusement. 
The construction of their limbs, their industry, their in- 
defatigable diligence, the police of their republic, their 
tender care of their young, and, perhaps a thousand 
other properties, which as yet we know not, may con- 
vince us of the wisdom of that Being, who is their Crea- 
tor as well as ours. For there is not one of the works 
of God which is not good, or worthy our admiration ; 
however useless, or even injurious some of them at first 
sight may appear. " The Supreme Creator, by whom all 
things exist, has created nothing without design ; nothing 
but what has its proper use, and answers the end for 
which it was formed. The trees have not a leaf, the 
fields a spire of grass, nor the flowers a single leaf, which 
is useless : the mite itself has not been created in vain." 
Even the despicable ants may teach us this great truth ; 

22 JULY X. 

and if we profit as we ought by their instructions, we 
shall never leave an ant-hill without having made some 
progress in wisdom and goodness. 



Hail is nothing but drops of rain, which, congealing in 
the air, fall down in pieces of a spheric, oblong, and angular 
form. Should it appear strange that, in the very warmest 
season of the year, vapours are found to freeze in the at- 
mosphere, let it be considered that, even in the greatest 
heats, the upper region of the air is cold, and often filled 
with snow. Were not this the case, how could the 
tops of high mountains continue covered with snow, 
even in the summer months ? In the hottest regions of 
America the cold is so intense on the tops of the highest 
mountains, that the traveller is in danger of being frozen 
to death. From this excessive cold in the upper regions 
of the atmosphere, we should have snow even in sum- 
mer, if the frozen particles did not melt before they 
reached the earth. When the particles of snow unite 
together, the drops begin to freeze ; and as in falling 
they pass suddenly through wanner regions of the air, 
it happens that before this warmth can have pene- 
trated th«m, their cold increases so much as to freeze 
them entirely. 

It might be supposed that, on the contrary, this cold 
should diminish in proportion as they pass through 
warmer air; but when, in winter, water which has been 
exposed to the open air is brought into a warm apart- 
ment, what is the consequence ? It freezes and becomes 
ice, which would not have taken place had it been put 
in a cold room. This is precisely the case with the 
meteor in question. For, when those cold bodies pass 
suddenly through a warm region of the air, their cold in- 
creases to such a degree, as to freeze them entirely. To 
this the volatile salts, which are more or less diffused 
through the atmosphere, contribute much. We need 
not therefore be surprised that storms are not always ac- 

HAIL. 23 

companied with hail ; for, in order to produce this effect, 
there must be an abundance of saline vapours to cause 
the drops to congeal suddenly. Although hail is more 
frequent in summer, yet it falls also in the other seasons; 
for, as in every season of the year saline exhalations 
may abound in the atmosphere, consequently it may 
hail in winter, autumn, and spring. 

The form and size of the hail are not always alike. 
Hailstones are sometimes round, sometimes concave, and 
hemispherical; and often conic and angular. Their 
ordinary size is like that of a small shot ; they are seldom 
as large as nuts. It has, however, been asserted, that 
some have fallen as large as a goose's egg. The differ- 
ence we observe in the form and size of hailstones may 
proceed from accidental causes. Winds, and especially 
• those which are impetuous, and blow in contrary direc- 
tions, doubtless contribute much to this. Besides, a 
hailstone, in falling, may meet with many other cold par- 
ticles, which may considerably augment its bulk ; and 
often several hailstones unite together, and form one large 

When hailstones are very large, they undoubtedly do 
inexpressible damage to crops, vines, fruits, and build- 
ings ; but this does not authorize us to look on them as 
a scourge from heaven, as a judgment or chastisement 
from the Lord. If a violent hail-storm sometimes lays 
waste several acres of land, and breaks thousands of 
windows, such desolations may be nothing in compari- 
son of the good which the storm produces. Hail mani- 
festly cools the air in the burning heats of summer ; the 
nitrous and saline moisture which they diffuse con- 
tributes much to the fertilization of the earth. It is 
very remarkable that, although all the meteors appear to 
succeed each other without the least regularity; and 
though in one year they are different from what they 
were in another ; yet, notwithstanding this apparent dis- 
order, constant fertility is produced. 

Here, again, God manifests his wisdom and goodness. 
May we glorify him in the hail and in the tempests, for 
his beneficent hand does admirable things, and never 
ceases to give us an abundance of food. 



We observe that the various species of animals are 
always continued of the same form throughout all their 
generations. We see, also, that the various kinds of 
vegetables always produce their like with undeviating 
certainty. But it is not so obvious that the parts of all 
unorganized matter of different kinds have a tendency 
to unite, after the same manner, for each species ; yet 
attentive observation will show that this is the fact. 

When the particles of bodies unite so as to form a re- 
gular solid, having its parts symmetrically situated, the 
solid is called a crystal, and the process of its formation 
is called crystallization. Most or all bodies occur in a 
crystalline form, or are capable of being made to assume 
that form ; and it is found that the same body always 
tends to take the same figure when it crystallizes, each 
kind of body having its own peculiar form. Thus, com- 
mon salt crystallizes in cubes, Epsom salt in six-sided 
prisms, sugar- candy in oblique four-sided prisms, with 
wedge-shaped summits; and carbonate of lime crystal- 
lizes in a rhomboidal form. 

It is not here to be supposed that crystallization agrees 
with the formation and increase of organic beings. Crys- 
tals increase by the apposition of parts on the exterior 
surface ; vegetables, by the expansion of their parts, 
from a diffusion of matter through their internal struc- 

In order that bodies may take the crystalline form, 
it is necessary that their parts should be at liberty, to 
move freely among each other, which happens when the 
bodies are in a state of fusion by being melted ; or when 
they are dissolved in some fluid, called the solvent. In 
the first case, they crystallize when slowly and very gra- 
dually cooled ; in the second case, when the solution 
remains undisturbed, and the solvent is slowly and gra- 
dually withdrawn by evaporation, the crystals are formed. 
A common method is, to evaporate the liquid to a cer- 
tain consistency, by boiling, and then to leave it to cool 
without agitation. If well formed crystals, of the same 


kind, be put into the solution, these will increase in 
magnitude ; and with a little address, very large crystals 
may lie obtained. Almost every sort of bodies under 
proper circumstances will crystallize on becoming solid. 

The crystalline form of tallow or fat is seen on the 
edges of the vessel wherein it has cooled. When melted 
metal is left to cool, till a crust is formed, on removing 
that crust we observe the crystalline appearance ; but in 
those combinations which are by chemists denominated 
salts, of which there are above two thousand sorts, this 
process is most evident. And it is farther remarkable 
that most crystals contain, in combination, a certain and 
definite portion of water. The forms of crystals are not 
only of the same regular figures for the same bodies, but 
those figures are terminated by plane surfaces, and con- 
sequently their edges are straight lines. 

The regularity asserted is not apparent at the first 
view, for the same body is often found crystallized in 
many different forms. However, the crystals being ex- 
amined, we discover that they can be split only in cer- 
tain directions ; and after being cut in those directions, 
there always results a given or determinate form for each 
body ; and however it is afterwards cut, it still exhibits 
that figure. It is well known to jewellers, that crystalline 
gems can only be divided in certain directions, so as to 
admit of smooth surfaces, capable of a good polish. 

The primitive forms of crystals are indeed but few ; 
but different bodies generally crystallize under some form 
different from the primitive one, which may be con- 
sidered as the nucleus; the secondary forms are, in 
general, owing to the nature and quantity of the sub- 
stance, and the circumstances of the formation. The 
forms of the nucleus are reducible to six: 1. The paral- 
lelopiped, including the cube, rhomb, and all solids of 
six faces, parallel two and two ; 2. The tetrahedron ; 3. 
The octahedron; 4. The regular hexahedral prisms; 5. 
The dodecahedron, with equal and similar rhomboidal 
planes ; and (j. The dodecahedron with triangular planes. 
Yet these primitive forms themselves differ, with very 
few exceptions, either in the angles contained by their 
sides, or the proportions of their linear dimensions. 

VOL. II. c 

2!) JULY XI. 

Do not these phenomena indicate that some power is 
attached to each atom of matter by the hand of him who 
formed it; and not only so, but that the several cor- 
puscles are by that power disposed to unite, not in any 
medley way, but according to one uniform manner. If 
not, why do they thus unite regularly, and after one only 
and peculiar manner, when, in solution or fusion, they 
are left to assume a natural arrangement. It must be 
considered as a beautiful law of nature, that she is di- 
rected ever to proceed in regular and orderly steps : here 
we see nothing out of place. 

It is a general conclusion, that transparency arises in 
bodies from an uniformity of arrangement in the ele- 
mentary parts which compose them; and it is Avorthy 
of notice, that perfect crystals are generally transparent, 
and many of them have the property of splitting the ray 
of light which falls on them. This is called double re- 
fraction. Thus, carbonate of lime, or calcareous spar, a 
rhomboidal crystal with obtuse summits, will show a 
double appearance of a line seen through it in a certain 
position. This property, no doubt, depends on the par- 
ticular arrangement constituting the laminae of the crystal. 

While we witness so much uniformity and regularity 
in the works of God ; while we see design in everything, 
and everything tending to promote the accomplishment 
of that design, may we not conclude that God has 
designed some great and good thing for us ? And 
shall we not pursue that good ? Shall we not, by an uni- 
form and regular course, pursue the path of life, and 
perform the will of our heavenly Father, following that 
line of conduct alone, which he has marked out for the 
regulation of our lives, for our well-being, our present 
and final happiness ? 



We should consider the phenomena of nature so, that 
the wisdom and goodness of our heavenly Father may 
be clearly apprehended by our understanding, and make 


the deepest impression upon our heart ; and this duty 
should appear to us the more indispensable, because it is 
so much neglected by a multitude of inattentive, igno- 
rant, and ungrateful people. It is true, that God some- 
times makes use of natural phenomena to punish the 
sins of men ; but these particular cases do not prove that 
he does not propose chiefly, and in general, the benefit 
and welfare of the whole. Universal nature affords in- 
contestable proofs of this. At present, let us consider a 
single phenomenon which is well calculated to convince 
us of this ; and concerning which we have great need 
to have our ideas rectified. 

Are we not in general accustomed from our youth to 
pronounce the words thunder and lightning with terror ? 
Such is our injustice, that we never think but on those 
extremely rare cases, in which tempests have been pre- 
judicial to a very small part of the universe ; while we 
shut our eyes against the great advantages which result 
from them to the whole of the creation. Alas ! we 
should soon change our tone if God, irritated by our 
murmuring and ingratitude, were to deprive us of the 
blessings which thunder and lightning produce. It is 
true, we are not capable of pointing out all the advan- 
tages resulting from them ; but the little which we know 
may suffice to fill our hearts with gratitude towards our 
great Benefactor. 

Let us represent to ourselves an atmosphere loaded 
with an infinity of noxious and pestilential exhalations, 
which are still more and more augmented by continual 
evaporations from terrestrial bodies ; so many of which 
are corrupt and poisonous. This air we must breathe ; 
the preservation or destruction of' our being depends on 
it. The salubrity or insalubrity of the air brings life or 
death. We all know how difficult respiration is in 
the stifling heats of summer, and what uneasiness and 
anxiety we then feel. Is it not, then, a great mercy from 
God, which merits our utmost gratitude, that a salutary 
storm comes to purify the air from all that might render 
it injurious ; that it sets fire to the saline and sulphu- 
reous particles, and thus prevents their dangerous effects ; 
that it cools the air, and, in restoring its elasticity, ren- 
ders it proper for respiration ? 

c 2 

28 JULY XI. 

Without such storms destructive exhalations would 
be more and more corrupted and multiplied ; men and 
other animals would perish by thousands ; and a uni- 
versal plague would render the earth a general grave- 
yard. Which, then, is most reasonable ; to wish for, or 
fear storms ? To murmur at the slight mischief which 
they sometimes occasion ; or to bless God for the excel- 
lent advantages which they procure to the world at 
large? Add to this, that not only men and animals 
profit much by the purification of the atmosphere from 
noxious vapours ; but the vegetable kingdom also gets 
much advantage by it. Experience teaches us that the 
rain which falls in a thunder-storm is more proper than 
any other for the fertilization of the earth. The saline 
and sulphureous particles which fill the atmosphere in 
the time of a thunder-storm, are brought down by the 
drops of rain, and become an excellent nutriment for 
plants ; to say nothing of the innumerable multitude of 
little worms, seeds, and insects, which is precipitated by 
the rain, and which may, by the assistance of a micro- 
scope, be easily discovered in the drops of water. 

Reflections of this kind may serve to moderate that 
excessive fear which we have of thunder ; a fear which 
too plainly proves how little confidence we have in God. 
Instead of giving way to dreadful and terrific ideas, let 
us accustom ourselves to meditate on the majestic gran- 
deur of a storm. Instead of conversing about the evils 
occasioned by lightning, let us speak of the great necesn 
sity and utility of thunder-storms. Instead of praying 
to God to avert such, let us rather entreat him to send 
them from time to time ; or else let us leave this entirely 
to that Supreme Being, who always governs the world 
with so much wisdom and goodness. As often as we 
see a storm, let us say in the fulness of our heart, and 
with strong confidence — Lord God Almighty ! it is thou 
who commandest the thunder, and directest the way of 
the lightning. We are in thy hand : thou alone canst 
save — thou only canst destroy. At thy command, the 
tempest shall either fertilize or destroy our fields. Thou 
art great, O Jehovah ! and thy power is inexpressible. 
How can we resist thee, or where can we fly to escape 
thy pursuing anger ? But art thou not our Father, and 


we thy adopted children ? Thou speakest to us by the 
thunder ; hut it is to bless, not to curse us. Blessed be 
thou, Lord, from eternity to eternity, and let all the 
people say, Hallelujah ! Amen. 



God has so constituted the earth, that it is fit for the 
production and growth of herbs, plants, and trees. It is 
compact enough to contain and hold fast the different 
vegetables, so that the winds cannot sweep them away ; 
and yet it is light and moveable enough to permit the 
roots to sink downwards, and attract humidity and nu- 
tritious juices. When the surface of the earth is dry 
and parched, that very lightness causes the juices to 
ascend in the capillary tubes, to furnish the trees with 
necessary nourishment. Besides this, the earth is full of 
oily particles, and different juices, which serve for the 
growth of plants. And that all sorts of vegetables may 
grow and draw their subsistence from the earth, God has 
formed different kinds of earths, which serve us for a 
variety of purposes, such as potter's earth, clay, chalk, 
and gravel. Some serve to make bricks ; others, to form 
buildings, walls, ovens, &c. ; and others are employed in 
the potteries. There are also different earths, which are 
used in dyeing, and some are used in medicine. 

Even the inequalities of the earth produce consider- 
able advantages. A greater number and diversity of 
animals and plants may live on the mountains. They 
serve also to break the violence of the winds ; they pro- 
duce a greater variety of wholesome plants and fruits, 
which could not be so well produced on the plains. They 
contain in their bowels those metals and minerals which 
are so useful to us. It is from them that springs, and 
the greater part of rivers, produced by the melting of 
raiows, by rains and other vapours, proceed. The stones 
ivhich are inclosed in the earth serve for the construc- 
tion of walls, and for the formation of lime and glass. 


As to metals, their uses are innumerable. Let us only 
consider the great variety of tools which our labourers 
and artists use ; and the utensils and moveables of all 
kinds which are made of different metals, and which 
furnish us with so many conveniences and ornaments. 
We also derive considerable advantages from the hard- 
ness and weight of these bodies. 

No person can be ignorant of the great utility of mine- 
rals. Salt serves to season our food, and to preserve it 
from putrefaction. And the sulphureous particles of 
bodies render them combustible. Volcanoes, also, and 
earthquakes, whatever ravages they may sometimes occa- 
sion, are nevertheless, useful and necessary If fire did- 
not consume the sulphureous exhalations, they would 
be diffused so much in the air as to render it unwhole- 
some. Divers warm baths, and various minerals and 
metals, could not be produced without these. We may 
impute it to our ignorance, if so many things appear use- 
less to us. At the sight of certain phenomena of nature, 
which are sometimes noxious, we should always recollect 
this maxim : if God now and then permit certain appa- 
rent imperfections to take place, it is that they may con- 
tribute to the greater perfection of the whole. To judge 
aright of the works of God, and to acknowledge his 
wisdom in them, we must not consider them in one point 
of view, but examine the parts separately, and then the 
whole combined. Many things which we now consider 
as injurious, would then appear to be of incontestable 
utility : others, which appear superfluous, we should find 
to be necessary to the perfection of the whole ; and we 
should see that their removal would leave a chasm in 
the empire of creation. How many things appear des- 
picable to us, merely because we are unacquainted with 
their uses ! Put a loadstone into the hand of a person 
who is ignorant of its virtues ; he will scarcely conde- 
scend to honour it with a look. Let him be informed 
that the progress of navigation and the discovery of 
America are owing to that stone, and he will speedily 
form a different opinion of it. It is the same with a 
million of things which we despise, or judge ill of, be- 
cause we do not know their use, and see not the rela- 
tions which they bear to the whole of creation. 


Lord ! the earth is full of thy goodness. All that is 
in and upon it, even the dust itself, is arranged in wis- 
dom. How long have we travelled on earth, and how 
much of thy hounty have we seen ! May we consider 
it as our principal duty to apply ourselves more and 
more to know thee, and to pay thee that just tribute of 
gratitude and love which we owe thee, for the various 
blessings we derive from the earth ! 



All observations on the moon confirm the opinion 
that she has a particular motion, by which she turns 
round the earth from west to east. For after having 
been placed between us and the sun, she retires from her 
conjunction with him, and continues to go eastward, 
changing each day the point of her rising. At the end 
of fifteen days, she reaches the most easterly part of the 
horizon, at the time the sun sets with us. She is then 
in opposition. In the evening, when the sun retires, she 
rises above our horizon ; and sets in the morning nearly 
about the time the sun rises. If, then, she continue to 
describe the circle round the earth which she has begun 
and half finished, she will depart visibly from the point 
of her opposition to the sun, and be less and less distant 
from that luminary, rise later than when in opposition to 
him, till at last she has got so near as only to be disco- 
vered a little before his rising. This revolution of the 
moon round the earth explains why she rises and sets at 
such different times; and why her phases are so dif- 
ferent, and at the same time so regular. Every body 
knows that a globe illuminated by the sun, or by a flam- 
beau, can receive the light only on one of its sides. At 
first sight, we are convinced that the moon is a globe 
which receives her light from the sun ; when, therefore, 
she is in conjunction, i. e., placed between the sun and 
us, she turns the whole of her illuminated side to him, 
and, of course, her dark part to us. She is then, con- 
sequently, invisible to us ; she rises with the sun in the 


same region of the heavens, and sets also with him : this 
is called the conjunction, or new moon. But when the 
moon retires from the sun, and goes on towards the east, 
then she has no longer the whole of her dark side turned 
towards us ; a small part, a little border of the illu- 
minated disk, comes in view. This luminous border is 
seen on the right side toward the sun, just at his setting, 
or even a little before ; and the extremities or points of 
this crescent are turned to the left, facing the east. The 
farther the moon recedes from the sun, the more visible 
she becomes ; till at the end of seven days, when she 
lias performed the fourth part of her course, she disco- 
vers half of her enlightened face. The enlightened part 
is always towards the sun, and her dark part casts no 
light 0:1 the earth. Exactly half the moon being illu- 
minated, the half of that half can only be the fourth 
part of her whole surface, and it is this fourth part which 
we see. Then the moon is said to have finished her first 
quarter, and to have entered her second. 

In proportion as the moon departs from the sun, and 
the earth is found nearly between them, the light occu- 
pies a greater space in that part of the moon which faces 
us ; at the end of seven days, counting from the close of 
the first quarter, she is almost directly opposite to the 
sun ; and then her whole disk, perfectly illuminated, is 
presented to us. She then rises in the east, precisely at 
the moment when the sun sets in the west. Then is 
our full moon. The next day, the enlightened part is a 
little turned away from us, so that we see no longer the 
full enlightened face. The light seems to leave the 
western side by little and little ; stretching over that part 
which does not face the earth. This is the wane or de- 
crease of the moon ; and the farther she advances, the 
more her obscure part increases, till at last, half the dark 
part, and consequently, half of the light side, are turned 
towards the earth : it has then the form of a semicircle ; 
and the moon is said to enter her last quarter. 

Let us adore the wisdom and goodness of our Creator, 
who manifests himself to us in the phases and different 
aspects of the moon. By the admirable harmony which 
subsists between the motion of this planet on her own 
axis, and her motion round the earth, it so happens that 


the moon always shows us the same half of her sphere 
which she has shown from the commencement of the 
world. For some thousands of years, this glohe has 
finished her revolution in 27 days and 8 hours. Regu- 
larly, and at the same periods, she has enlightened at one 
time* the nights of our climate; at another, the most dis- 
tant countries. With what goodness has it pleased the 
divine wisdom to grant our earth a faithful companion, 
to enlighten almost half our nights ! Alas ! we do not 
sufficiently value this wise appointment of the Creator. 
But there is a people who know better than we how to 
estimate this advantage, to whom the light of the moon 
is indispensable. Doubtless, they feel more gratitude 
for this present from heaven than we generally do. 

The continual changes of the moon, both in respect 
to her phases and her course, are a lively emblem of the 
revolutions to which terrestrial things are liable. Some- 
times health, joy, affluence, and a thousand other bless- 
ings concur to render us happy; and we walk, so to 
speak, in brilliant light. But at the end of a few days, 
all this splendour disappears, and soon there remains 
only the sorrowful remembrance of the transitory and 
fickle blessings we have enjoyed. How earnestly, then, 
should we long to pass from this uncertain world to 
a region of felicity, where all the blessings which we 
shall enjoy shall appear to us the more excellent 
because they are not subject either to corruption or 
decay ! 



Whether we consider mineral waters as to their for- 
mation, or in respect to the innumerable advantages 
derived from them, they are doubtless a precious gift 
from heaven. But in this, as in many other cases, we 
are inattentive and ungrateful. Even the places where 
these springs of health and life flow in abundance for us, 
are rarely what they should be — places consecrated to 
gratitude and to the praise of God. For these and other 

c 3 

34 jcxy xiv. 

blessings, let us hereafter endeavour to be more grateful 
to our heavenly Benefactor. 

In the first place, the sources whence we draw the 
common salt which seasons our food, deserve our atten- 
tion. It is probable that these sources derive their origin 
from that mineral salt, which the waters dissolve under 
the earth. The mineral hot baths are not less remark- 
able. They are not only so very numerous, that in Ger- 
many itself nearly 120 "are reckoned, but the waters of 
them are so hot that they must stand to cool twelve, and 
sometimes eighteen hours, before they are fit to bathe in. 
Whence can this extraordinary heat proceed ? It is 
certainly not from the sun : were it occasioned by his 
influence, the water would retain its warmth only 
during the day, while it was subject to the action of 
the sun ; and would of course cool at night, and be 
cold during the winter. Nor can this heat, with any 
more likelihood, be attributed to subterranean fires ; for 
still we should have to account for the medicinal virtues 
of these waters. Perhaps the most simple cause that 
has been assigned is, that the waters, passing through 
earth strongly impregnated with sulphureous, pyritous, 
and metallic substances, acquire this degree of heat. 
When the water falls into these quarries, the sulphureous 
and ferruginous particles, which it dissolves, take fire 
by the friction and reaction of their principles, and 
communicate that heat to the water which runs over 

But there are various substances which evolve heat 
when they unite chemically with water, or with each 
other. We need not go farther in quest of the heat of 
some mineral springs, than that which is contained in 
water itself, and also in the subtances which combine 
with it. Thus cold water, and cold concentrated sul- 
phuric acid, mixed in nearly equal proportions, produce 
an almost boiling heat. 

Medicinal waters, and particularly those which are 
acidulated, are produced by dissolving and mixing with 
those mineral substances which they wash away. They 
are found especially in those places where there is an 
abundance of iron, copper, sulphur, and pitcoal. Hence 
it is that their taste and effects are so different, in pro- 


portion as they are more or less impregnated with the 
ahove principles. They are bitter when they spring 
through bitter roots, impure resin, nitre, or copper. They 
are cold when they proceed from rocks, or when they are 
impregnated with sal ammoniac, nitre, alum, &c. Fatty 
and bituminous substances render them oily. Sulphur 
mixed with acids renders them sulphureous in taste and 

Let us admire the inexhaustible riches of that divine 
goodness, which has prepared for men wholesome foun- 
tains, which never grow dry. Mineral waters may 
doubtless have other uses ; but it is incontrovertible, that 
they were formed for the health and preservation of men. 
It is for man that the Lord has caused these beneficent 
- waters to spring out of the earth : let us therefore ac- 
knowledge his goodness, and feel deeply affected by it. 
Let those especially, who have experienced their strength- 
ening and salutary virtue, be deeply penetratec with 
gratitude and love to their heavenly Father. Let such 
glorify him by imitating his example, causing their riches 
to become springs of life and consolation to their neces- 
sitous brethren. 



Whoever wishes to know why nature is never idle 
during the whole course of the year, need only reflect on 
the innumerable advantages which result from this 
constant activity. The vegetable kingdom was designed 
for the use of men and animals. Men receive both food 
and pleasure from it ; animals receive food only. The 
beneficent Creator purposed to procure men both nourish- 
ment and comfort ; this is the reason why he has com- 
manded nature not to produce all sorts of plants at once, 
but successively. In reality, if they all appeared at the 
same time, none of the ends already mentioned could 
be accomplished. How could men find time to get in 
their different crops, if all should come to maturity at 

36 JULY XV. 

the same time? How could they all be preserved, 
seeing there are many of them whose duration is very 
short, and which would speedily lose both their taste 
and virtue ? What then would become of the pleasing 
sensations which they procure both to our eye and to 
our palate? What flavour would cherries and other 
summer fruits have, were we to eat them in the midst 
of winter, encompassed with snow and ice? Would 
not the wine itself be changed into vinegar, were the 
grapes to ripen in the height of summer ? And what 
would be the lot of so many millions of animals, over 
whose preservation the Divine Being watches, as well as 
over that of men ? How could they live, if all the pro- 
ductions of the earth came to their maturity at the same 
time ? 

There are a hundred species of insects which are 
nourished only by flowers ; how could they exist if the 
flowers lasted only one or two months ? Could they 
collect enough to have always sufficient food ? It is 
true, that the greater part of insects find none in winter ; 
but they are so constituted, that at the time when 
their provisions fail, they fall into a deep sleep, and so 
they require none. This could not take place in sum- 
mer, because the heat would awake them. It is there- 
fore certain, that if nature were otherwise arranged, men 
as well as other animals would suffer much, if not be 
destroyed by hunger ; and we have good ground to 
assert, that the support of men and beasts is one of the 
principal ends which the Author of nature has proposed 
in establishing such a continual activity in the vegetable 

If we next reflect on the pleasures of sight and smell- 
ing, which God designed for men, we shall find that in 
this respect also it is necessary that nature should be 
constituted as remarked above. It was not only neces- 
sary that she should bring forth her flowers in all their 
beauty, but that she should do this through the whole 
year for the continual enjoyment of men. In spring, 
when men walk out into the fields, to contemplate the 
different substances which the Creator causes to spring 
forth for their nourishment, they see the trees blossom 
in all their beauty. Towards summer, when they are 


principally occupied with their corn, a thousand beau- 
tiful flowers present themselves to their sight. They 
show themselves successively, and replace each other 
during the whole of that season, in which men can 
enjoy this pleasure. Lastly, when the cold of winter 
takes place, and we shut ourselves up in our houses, 
nature produces other vegetables which, though not very 
pleasing to the sight, have yet many and considerable 
advantages. From all this it appears that the pleasure 
and comfort of man are some of the great ends which 
God has proposed in that arrangement of nature which 
we have already described. 

Such is the plan by which the Creator has disposed 
the vegetable kingdom. All is so regulated that men 
and animals may find sufficient nourishment ; and also 
that the former may find as many pleasures and com- 
forts as possible. In consequence of this law, certain 
plants produce their flowers and fruits in spring, others 
in summer, and others in autumn or in winter. Thus, 
each has its appointed time, and appears precisely when 
it may be of the greatest utility. Scarcely have the first 
accomplished their service, when the others begin to 
appear in all their beauty. We see many thousands of 
plants, and all follow the same law. 

In this wise and regular order, all the things which 
God has created are found, although the weakness of 
our understanding prevents us sometimes from discover- 
ing their uses and designs. Let us therefore bless 
our Creator, give him glory in all things, and acknow- 
ledge that, in all the revolutions which take place in the 
vegetable kingdom, God proposes always our comfort 
and happiness. With what gratitude should such re- 
flections inspire us ! And what sweet satisfaction should 
we feel as often as we contemplate the beauties of nature 
in our fields and in our gardens ! 




The sight of a large and beautiful garden, in these 
summer days, affords us a sensible pleasure which we 
find not in our houses, and of which we cannot, while 
confined to them, form even a just idea. But the plea- 
sure which the most regular gardens affords, is not com- 
parable to what we feei, when we walk in the meadows 
and fields. The stately tulip, the elegant narcissus, the 
beautiful hyacinth, do not afford so much pleasure as 
the simple flowers which enamel a fertile valley. 
Whatever charms the flowers cultivated in our gardens 
may have, those of the fields and meadows are still 
more pleasing. In the former we observe beauty, but 
the latter unite both beauty and utility. Is it not true 
that in these long, uniform, and well-gravelled walks, 
those bowers, thickets, and parterres, so gay and well- 
proportioned — is it not true, that we find ourselves con- 
fined and hampered in them ? Every place which 
confines our sight appears to set bounds to our liberty. 
We aspire to walk at large in the extensive fields • and 
meadows ; and we seem to become in a certain measure 
independent, and more at liberty, in proportion as our 
walk widens and extends before us. 

In the country in summer, fertile and beauteous 
nature varies her appearance every moment ; whereas in 
our gardens, so well ornamented, we always see the 
same objects. Even their order, proportion, and regu- 
larity prevent us from being long pleased with them. 
In a short time we perceive no novelty in, and begin 
even to tire of them. On the contrary, the eye wanders 
with delight over objects continually varied, and which ex- 
tend themselves beyond even the reach of sight. To afford 
us this satisfaction, the Author of nature has ordained 
that in most places the earth should be smooth and even ; 
but that we might have distant agreeable prospects, he 
has encompassed our horizon with rising hills. He has 
done more still, he has spared us the trouble of cultivating 


and watering these flowery gardens. In them he has 
sowed an innumerable multitude of seeds, from which a 
verdure is derived which scarcely ever fades, or if faded 
a little, is speedily renewed. 

The prodigious multitude of plants which cover a 
field, are not for the sight only ; each has its particular 
leaves, flowers, virtues, and beauties. It is true, that 
the same species of herbs is prodigiously multiplied in 
each field ; but we scarcely take a step without passing 
over a hundred different kinds, each of which has its 
particular structure and use. This is one of the prin- 
cipal reflections which we should make at the sight of 
the fields. To the pleasure which this sight affords, our 
beneficent Creator has joined the most considerable ad- 
vantages. The fields not only produce plants for our 
nourishment, but also innumerable simples, useful in 
medicine. But the greatest good afforded to us by the 
fields is, that they nourish almost without expense those 
animals which are so essentially necessary for us. The 
ox, whose flesh is our food, and by whose labour our 
grounds are cultivated, has no other food than the pro- 
duce of the field. The horse, whose services are innu- 
merable, asks only, as a recompence for his labour, the 
free use of the field, or a sufficient quantity of hay. 
The cow, whose milk is one of the greatest supports of 
life, requires nothing more. The pasture ground is the 
most perfect of all heritages ; it is preferable even to 
cultivated fields ; for the produce of the former is ever 
sure, and it neither requires seed nor labour, it requires 
only the small trouble of collecting that which it pro- 
duces. Its productions are not casual, for it rarely 
happens that the pastures are ravaged either by drought 
or inundations. 

But it is a melancholy thing that men, who are in 
general so inattentive to and insensible of the blessings 
of God, should be equally so in reference to this. We 
look upon giass commonly with contempt or indiffer- 
ence, probably because it grows under our feet, and re- 
quires no cultivation, and we do not consider the pastures 
to be of immediate use to us. But whatever the cause 
of our indifference may be, it is certainly without excuse. 
Would to God, that when we walk in the fields and 

40 jcly xvir. 

plains, we had a sensible and grateful heart ! That at 
the sight of meadows, enamelled with flowers, we might 
be deeply affected with the goodness of the Most High, 
who opens his liberal hand over all the earth, and abun- 
dantly satisfies the desires of both men and beasts ! O 
that we were deeply convinced that his goodness is every- 
where, and that there is not a corner of the earth where 
he does not manifest the footsteps of his kind provi- 
dence ! Yes, all countries, all soils, the good and the 
bad, the sandy and the marshy, the stony and the moist, 
announce the beneficence of the Preserver of all things. 
The whole earth is one immense pasture, where all 
living creatures may find nourishment, pleasure, and de- 

May we never hereafter consider these pasture-grounds 
but with sentiments of gratitude and joy ! While we 
sit on a flowery bank, and cast our eyes around, may we 
be penetrated with gratitude and joy, and raise ourselves 
to thee, our affectionate Father, in songs of thanksgiving, 
and proclaim thy benefits ! " How lovely and delightful 
are these flowers, which encompass me by thousands ! 
Could Adam, in the terrestrial paradise, behold any 
more delightful than these ? Here, troops of winged 
songsters celebrate the Lord of the universe ; there, the 
verdant fields, and the flowers with which they are ena- 
melled; farther off, the thickets and forests announce 
the goodness of the Parent of nature, and proclaim his 
unlimited munificence." 



It cannot be doubted, that this phenomenon which 
we daily behold, is equally with others designed for the 
benefit of the world. Twilight is no other than a pro- 
longation of the day, which prepares our eyes sometimes 
to bear all the splendour of the rising sun, and at other 
times to support the approaches of the night. The twi- 
light is not always the same ; it varies according to 
different climates and seasons. It continues longer at 


the poles than in the torrid zone. The inhabitants of 
that zone see the sun rise directly above the horizon, and 
sink in the same direction under the lower hemisphere, 
so that he leaves them suddenly in the most profound 
night. On the contrary, the sun darting his rays ob- 
liquely towards the poles, and not sinking much below 
the horizon of the neighbouring people, their nights, 
though long, are almost constantly attended with twi- 
light, and therefore in some measure luminous. It is a 
happiness for the former to have scarcely any twilight, 
and it is not less so to the others to have an almost unin- 
terrupted dawn. 

As for us, who are placed nearly at an almost equal 
distance from the inhabitants of the torrid and frigid 
zones, we plainly observe that our twilight becomes 
shorter in proportion as our days shorten ; and that it 
increases in proportion as the days lengthen. In the 
evening we enjoy an hour of twilight, and sometimes 
more, after the sun seta. Previous to his rising we have 
a twilight of the same length. This arrangement, so 
useful, we owe to the properties which God has given 
the air. He has encompassed the earth with an atmo- 
sphere which extends very high ; he has made such a 
proportion between the air and the light which pervades 
it, that when the rays enter it perpendicularly, nothing 
disturbs their direction ; but when a ray enters obliquely 
or sideways, instead of passing through it in a direct 
line, it is bent downwards, so that the greater part of 
the rays which fall down into the atmosphere, close to 
the earth, by this inflection, fall back upon it. For 
instead of pursuing their direct course in passing by the 
earth, they are reflected by the air ; thus, when the sun 
approaches our horizon, many of his rays which pass by 
us, and are not sent directly to us, meeting with the 
mass of air which surrounds our globe, are bent in that 
mass, and sent back to our eyes, so that we have day-light 
some time before the sun himself appears. We have 
twilight long before the sun rises, by the reflection of his 
rays which fall on the atmosphere, and day-light three 
or four minutes before, by the refraction of the same 

This law of the refraction and reflection of light in the 


mass of air which surrounds us, is a work equally full 
of wisdom and goodness towards all the inhabitants of 
the earth ; but, it is an especial blessing to those who 
dwell in the frigid zones. Without the assistance of 
twilight they must be for several months plunged in the 
deepest darkness. It is possible, that this explanation 
of the origin of twilight may not be altogether intelli- 
gible to some readers ; however, let us leave further de- 
tails concerning this phenomenon to philosophers, and 
let us content ourselves with considering it as Christians 
and reasonable beings should. To consider it profitably, 
we need no more intelligence than what ordinarily falls 
to the share of a common labourer, provided the heart 
be right with God, and earnestly desires to glorify its 
Creator. The simple though unlearned Christian is 
often wiser than the most eminent philosophers, who, 
while they calculate and explain the twilight, lose sight 
of that Supreme Being who gives to man the light of 
the day. 

The simple Christian, falling on his knees at the ar- 
rival of the twilight, may be led thus to adore his Cre- 
ator. Father of the day, and Author of twilight ! I exalt 
and bless thee at the sight of the first and last rays of 
the sun. With what tender care dost thou watch over 
the welfare of men ! Were I a labourer, I could, after 
having endured the intense heat of the sun, profit by the 
twilight to cut down my crops in the cool of the night. 
I should probably praise thee with more gratitude. Were 
I a traveller, how pleasing must the morning twilight be 
to me ! Probably, while walking in its mild influence, 
I should bless him who has formed it ; while, on the 
contrary, at present I pay too little attention to this 
blessing, and seldom think of praising thee for it. How 
cool and delightful are the summer mornings ! If there 
were no sun, no atmosphere — if thou, O Creator of the 
sun and atmosphere, didst not exist, I should not desire 
to live. What am I saying ? If thou wert not, I could 
have no being. I praise thee for thy being, and re- 
joice in my own ; and bless thee that there is a world 
which thy beneficent hands have formed, and which 
thou hast condescended to enrich with so many beauties. 



Come, and let us enjoy those pleasures which are 
relished only by the wise. The pleasing light of the 
sun invites us to the field. There the purest pleasure 
awaits us. Let us walk into a flowery valley, and sing 
a hymn of praise to the Creator. 

How gently do the zephyrs breathe through every 
branch and leaf of these bushes ! Everything before us 
bounds with joy, or resounds with songs of gladness; all 
seem invigorated, and animated with new life. 

How do the ruffled woods, the vallies, and the moun- 
tains, which the summer has adorned by its gifts, delight 
the eye, and rejoice the heart ! Their charms are not 
the produce of art; even the ornamented . gardens are 
eclipsed by them. 

The corn grows yellow, and begins to invite the reaper 
to prepare his sickle. The trees, crowned with leaves, 
spread their shade over the little hills and fields. The 
birds rejoice in their existence, and sing their pleasures ; 
their notes express nothing but joy and affection. 

Each year renews the treasures of the peaceable hus- 
bandman ; freedom, and a consciousness of his happiness, 
shine in his serene countenance. Neither hateful ca- 
lumny, nor pride, nor the corroding cares by which the 
inhabitants of cities are enslaved, disturb the repose of 
his mornings, nor vex him with sleepless nights. 

No place can prevent the wise man, who delights to 
exercise his senses and reason, from relishing the plea- 
sures which are found in the bosom of the country. 
There, the rich pastures, the meadows covered with dew, 
the beautiful pictures which every part of nature pre- 
sents, fill his soul with sweet delight, and elevate his 
heart to his Creator. 



The evening twilight is that faint light which, after 
sunset, continues still to illuminate our atmosphere, par- 
ticularly towards the west. It is partly occasioned by 
the refraction and reflection of the rays of the sun in 
our atmosphere ; and partly by the atmosphere of the 
sun itself, known by the name of the zodiacal light, 
which sometimes appears, but particularly in spring, 
towards evening ; and in autumn, towards morning. 
When the sky is clear, we may see the smallest stars 
during the twilight ; though not in the very brightest 
part of it. It continues from the time that the sun has 
entirely disappeared till dark night ; and its duration is 
ordinarily about two hours. In the island of Senegal, 
where the nights and days are almost always equal, the 
twilight lasts but a few moments. The interval between 
sunset and dark night, is scarcely a quarter of an hour. 
Thus, as soon as the sun is ten or fifteen degrees below 
the horizon, darkness is spread over the whole country, 
and it becomes like midnight. 

About the 1st of March, and the 11th of October, our 
twilight is the shortest. When the northern declination 
of the sun and the latitude of the place are such that 
the sun does not descend more than eighteen degrees 
below the horizon, the twilight then lasts the whole 
night. It is on this account that in these countries in 
the summer solstice we have scarcely any night ; and 
that, in the more northern climates, there is no night 
at all, although the sun is below the horizon. This takes 
place when the difference between the depression of the 
equator, or complement of latitude, and the northern de- 
clination of the sun is less than eighteen degrees. This 
happens in the greater part of Germany from the 17th 
of May to the 25th of July. 

The advantages which we and many other creatures 
derive from the twilight are very evident. To pass im- 
mediately from the broad day to dark night would be 
very inconvenient. So sudden a passage from light to 
darkness would wound, if not destroy, the organs of 


sight. Travellers overtaken by so sudden a night must 
lose their way, and the greater part of birds be in danger 
of perishing. The wise Author of Nature has prevented 
all these inconveniences, by giving our earth an atmo- 
sphere which hinders us from losing the light suddenly, 
although the sun is below the horizon. And thus, 
through the medium of the twilight, we pass, by insen- 
sible degrees, from day to night. 



This insect is named ephemeron (i. e., half a day), 
"because of the short duration of its life in the state of a 
fly. It is one of the most beautiful species of the small 
flies. It undergoes five transformations, .First, the egg 
contains the principles of its life ; secondly, a caterpillar 
proceeds from the egg ; thirdly, this is transformed 
into a chrysalis; fourthly, the chrysalis becomes a 
nympha ; and fifthly, this ends in a fly. This fly lays her 
eggs on the water, where the heat of the sun hatches 
them, A very small red worm comes out of each egg, 
which has a serpentine motion. They are found in 
abundance in ponds and marshes during the whole 
summer. But as soon as the water begins to be cold, 
the worm makes itself a little sheath, in which it passes 
the winter. Towards the end of winter it ceases to be 
a worm, and enters into its third state, that of a chrysalis. 
In this state it sleeps during the spring, and by degrees 
becomes a beautiful nympha, or kind of mummy, some- 
thing in the form of a fish. 

On the day appointed for its metamorphosis, it appears 
stupid and inactive : in about six hours the head makes 
its appearance, and rises by degrees above the surface of 
the water. Afterwards the body disengages itself slowly ; 
till at length the whole animal comes out of its sheath. 
The new-born fly falls on the water, and remains some 
minutes without motion. In a short time it begins to 
revive, and moves its wings feebly. Finally, it mpves 
them quickly, and tries first to walk, and then to fly. 



As these flies are all hatched nearly in the same moment, 
they are seen in swarms, jumping and playing on the 
surface of the water for the space of two hours. The 
male and the female then seek each other, and unite for 
the space of two hours more. Then they begin again to 
skip and play, lay their eggs, and shortly after fall down 
and die. Thus they terminate their short life in about 
five or six hours ; and never survive the day in which 
they were born. 

Let the history of the life of these animals teach us 
how false the opinions are which we form of our lives in 
reference to eternity. Suppose that one of these flies had 
preserved its active and laborious life for twelve hours, 
and thus arrived at the most advanced age, relative to its 
companions, the greater part of which died at noon. If 
this very aged insect could speak, probably about sun- 
set, a little before its death, it would thus address its 
assembled friends : " I now find that the longest life 
must end. The term of mine is arrived, and I regret it 
not ; for old age is already become my burden, and I 
can no longer discover anything new under the sun. All 
that I have seen during the course of my long life has 
convinced me that there is nothing here certain or dura- 
ble. A whole generation of our species has been de- 
stroyed by a violent tempest. The coolness of the air 
has carried off a great number of our sprightly youth. I 
have lived in the first ages of the world ; I have con- 
versed a great deal with insects, much more respectable, 
robust, and intelligent than any of the present generation. 
I can assure you, that the sun which appears now not far 
distant from the earth, I have seen in the midst of the 
sky. In those ancient times its light was more vivid 
than it now is, and our ancestors were more sober and 
virtuous than we are. I have seen many things, I have 
had long experience, and I have outlived all my con- 
temporaries. My life began precisely when that sun 
arose ; during countless years it ran its majestic course 
in heaven, and diffused the most intense heat everywhere; 
but now that it is on the decline, and is going to set, I 
plainly foresee that the end of all things is at hand. O 
my friends, how much did I once flatter myself that my 
life should be eternal ! How beauteous were the celts 


which I formed for my abode ! "What hopes did I build 
on my good constitution, my vigour, agility, and the 
strength of my wings ! But, after all, I have lived long 
enough, and none of those which I leave behind will 
ever run so long and so delightful a course as mine." 

Thus might an insect speak which has lived on the 
earth nearly twelve hours. But might not a man who 
has spent fourscore years in the world, use nearly the 
same language ? Truly, the difference between fourscore 
years and twelve hours is nothing in reference to eternity. 
And in general, do we employ our fourscore years to a 
much better purpose than this ephemeron fly is stated to 
have employed its twelve hours ? 



Were there anything in the world which perished 
without any good resulting from it, we might well doubt 
the wisdom of the Divine government. But we have 
reason to believe that in the immense circle of creation, 
not even the smallest grain of dust has ever perished, 
but that all things exist for certain purposes, each ac- 
complishing in its own way the end for which it was 

The seed which drops off a flower is not destroyed ; it 
is often carried away by the winds to make other flowers 
fruitful ; or else it takes root in the earth, and becomes 
a plant. Other seeds and fruits are devoured by birds 
and beasts ; they are digested, and mixed with their 
juices ; part goes for manure to the land, the rest nour- 
ishes those bodies which are to become food for man 
and other animals. Certain things corrupt, and becom« 
decomposed, it is true ; but by this they become parts of 
some other substance, and serve, under a new form, to 
accomplish ends for which they were not proper in their 
first estate ; for in order to answer these ends it was 
necessary that they should be prepared by different 
changes, and by a reunion with other substances. 

The butterfly could never have produced its like had 

48 JULY XX. 

it not been a caterpillar. No animal whatever, as we 
now see it, could have ever been produced if its germ 
had not pre-existed in the first animal of its species. 
Nothing perishes in nature ; things are only decomposed 
in order to appear under a new form, and become part 
of some other substance. Every grain of dust is, so to 
speak, the germ of new creatures, and holds its proper 
place in that chain of beings which have been produced 
for the perfection of the whole. If you take a handful 
of the sand you tread on, you perhaps take away the 
lives of millions of insects which were the inhabitants 
of this sand. Did we know properly the elementary 
particles of matter, we might be better able to determine 
what the other substances were in which they, so to 
speak, lay concealed, and into the compositions of which 
they entered. 

" But may not abortions, or children which die imme- 
diately after they are born, be considered as creatures 
which perish without being of any use ?" No, certainly. 
They fulfil, in their way, the designs of the Creator, and 
are prepared by different revolutions for their future 
state. Nature does everything gradually. Man is first 
an infant ; and the tree a twig. Each creature employs 
its energy during its short duration, and prepares itself 
for a new state. The step which man must take to pass 
from the mere sensitive life of childhood to the rational 
life of advanced age, is certainly not greater than that 
which the infant takes from its mother's womb to the 
sensitive life. And we can no more say that the infant 
has not fulfilled the design for which God created it, 
than we can that the full-grown man has not accom- 
plished those purposes of his Maker here below, which 
he is not to fulfil till he become an inhabitant of heaven. 
Every creature answers the end of its formation, in a 
particular way, and according to its faculties. Like the 
wheels of a watch, some go fast, others go slow ; but all 
tend, directly or indirectly, to the end of their formation. 
All things develope and exercise their energies ; and 
contribute something, according to their power, to the 
execution of the general plan which God has laid down. 

We may meet with many things in nature which at 
first sight may appear useless ; and consequently may 


seem to have been produced without design. We mav 
think that others have been entirely destroyed and anni- 
hilated. But let us not be too precipitate in our judg- 
ments ; and let us not be too hasty to find fault with the 
ways of the Lord. Let us rather believe that whatever 
we see, however strange and unconnected it may appear, 
is arranged in the wisest manner ; and that God knows 
how to accomplish his designs, when we, weak and 
ignorant mortals, cannot form an idea of the ends he 

"Let us be assured that the hand of the Lord has 
planned everything with the utmost wisdom. Look 
around; all is connected; everything is in its proper 
place, and nothing owes its situation to chance. There 
js not a thing in the world which is useless, even when 
it falls into dust. Nothing is lost from nature, nothing 
perishes in it ; not even the smallest leaf, nor a grain of 
sand, nor one of those insects which the naked eye 
cannot discover ; nor any of those seeds which the breeze 
carries away. The majestic firmament where the sun 
shines with so much splendour, the dust which sports in 
his beams, and which we respire without perceiving it ; 
all has appeared at the command of the Creator ; all is 
placed in the most proper situation ; all exists never to 
end; all is good and perfect in the world which the 
Most High has created. And yet rash and presump- 
tuousinan dares to find fault with the works of the Lord !" 
Let us not resemble these madmen ; let us _ glorify God, 
and secure our own peace, in believing that of all which 
has been made, nothing perishes, nothing is useless. 
Even our bodies perish not ; though they wear, and are 
continually evaporating, and at last shall be entirely de- 
composed in the grave ; though they become constituent 
parts in a multitude of strange bodies, yet they shall 
have a resurrection to a life without end. 




The Creator haying made our earth in a globular form, 
and having impressed on it a double motion, it neces- 
sarily followed that the regions of the earth should differ 
from each other, not only in the temperature of the 
seasons, but also in the plants and animals which they 
produce. In certain countries of our globe there is but 
one season, viz., summer, which incessantly prevails ; 
and every day there is as hot as our warmest summer 
days. Those countries are situated on the middle of our 
globe ; and occupy what is commonly termed the torrid 
zone. Those fruits which are most grateful to the smell 
and taste are produced there, and grow nowhere else ; 
and in it nature has poured out her richest gifts. In 
this zone, the days and nights are nearly of an equal 
length, during the greatest part of the year. 

On the other hand, there are countries in which a cold 
more intense than that of our most rigorous winters 
prevails during almost the whole year. There are only 
a few weeks in the year warm enough for the few plants 
and trees which they have to grow or become green; 
but in those frigid zones neither the trees nor the ground 
produce such fruits as are proper for the nourishment of 
man. In these countries, the greatest inequality prevails 
between the days and nights ; both last in their turn for 
whole months together. 

The two temperate zones, situated between the torrid 
and frigid zones, occupy the greatest part of our globe. 
In these countries there are always four seasons, more or 
less distinctly marked, according as they approach to the 
torrid, or to one or other of the frigid zones: 1. The 
spring : in this, trees and plants bud and blossom, the heat 
is moderate, and the days and nights nearly equal. 2. The 
summer : in this, the fruits of the trees and fields ripen, 
the heat is more intense, and the days longer than the 
nights. 3. The autumn : in this, fruits and seeds fall, 
the grass becomes withered, the days and nights are 
equal, and the heat diminishes daily. 4. The winter : 


in this, vegetation is almost totally suspended, the nights 
increase in length, and the cold becomes more intense. 

The countries of the temperate zones are so situated 
that in those which are near one of the sides of the torrid 
zone, the seasons are diametrically opposed to those of 
the other temperate zone. When it is winter in one it 
is summer in the other, &c. -In these countries nature 
seems to have produced the greatest varieties, not only 
in the productions of the earth, but also in animals. 
Wine is peculiar to those countries; for the vine can- 
not be cultivated in very cold or intensely hot coun- 
tries. Men especially have peculiar advantages in these 
countries. The inhabitants of the frigid zone are gene- 
rally stupid and low in stature ; those of the torrid zona 
are of a very weak constitution, have stronger passions, 
but less physical and intellectual energy, than the in- 
habitants of the temperate zones. 

However diversified the regions of our earth may be, 
the Creator has provided, by wise arrangements, for the 
well-being of those who inhabit them. He causes every 
country to produce what is most necessary, according"to 
the nature of the climate. A worm, which feeds on the 
leaves of the mulberry-tree, spins for the inhabitants of 
the torrid zone that silk out of which they form their 
clothing ; and a tree like a shrub bears a kind of husk, 
or shell, filled with a fine wool (cotton) of which light 
stuffs are made. On the other hand, cold countries 
abound in quadrupeds, the skins of which serve for 
elothing to the inhabitants of the north ; and they are 
also stocked with thick forests, from which they procure 
wood in great abundance for firing. That the blood of 
the inhabitants, in a soil naturally hot, may not be too 
much inflamed, their fields and orchards afford them 
refreshing fruit, and that in such abundance that they 
can spare ample provision of this kind to the inhabit- 
ants of other countries. In cold countries, God supplies 
their lack of the fruits of the earth by the vast multi- 
tudes of fish which the seas and lakes contain, and by 
the great number of animals which dwell in the forests ; 
and though they are a subject of terror to men, never- 
theless they furnish, not only excellent furs and whole- 
some food, but also many implements for domestic use. 

i) 2 



Thus, there is no region on the globe which does not 
experience the excellence and goodness of the Most 
High. There is no country, however poor or barren we 
may suppose it, where nature does not show herself suf- 
ficiently kind, in providing one way or other the neces- 
saries and comforts of life for the inhabitants. 

In every place, O beneficent Father ! thy wisdom and 
goodness may be traced. Even the impassable deserts, 
and the rugged mountains, which fill a great part of 
Asia and Africa, contain monuments of thy wisdom and 
beneficent love. The countries where the snow and ice 
cover the earth, as well as the temperate zones, send 
songs of thanksgiving to thee. Father of Beings ! thy 
name is glorified in all languages. But it is in our cli- 
mates that thou shouldst be particularly exalted, seeing 
thou hast favoured us more than so many millions of the 
other inhabitants of the earth. 



In general, the sea is considered only in a terrible 
point of view, without reflecting on the wonders and 
blessings it so visibly presents to us. We cannot, indeed, 
deny that the sea is a most formidable element, when 
its waves swell mountain high, and the tempest roars. 
In such cases vessels are often driven far out of their 
course, dashed to pieces by the waves, and swallowed up. 
Sometimes, the storm drives them against sandbanks and 
rocks, where they are entirely wrecked. Whirlpools, or 
those masses of water which make the vessel turn ra- 
pidly round, and at last swallow it up ; these gulfs and 
whirlpools are occasioned by great cavities in the sea, 
where rocks and opposite currents meet. No less dan- 
gerous are the water-spouts, which the wind lifts from 
the sea towards the sky. They hover in the air over 
the sea, and the wind causes them to twist and turn 
with violence. They often burst with a great crash, and 
do great damage ; for, when they approach a vessel, they 
mingle with its sails, raise it aloft, and shake it to pieces. 


or precipitate it to the bottom : at least, if they do not 
carry it away, they break the masts, tear the sails, and 
drown the vessel. Many ships perish by similar causes. 

But we should be very ungrateful to pay attention 
only to the mischief which the sea occasions, without 
condescending to reflect on the magnificent works of the 
Lord ; and on that goodness which shines forth even in 
the depths of the abyss. The first thing worthy of re- 
mark is the saltness of the sea. It is such that a pound 
of sea-water contains two ounces of salt. Sea-salt is 
lighter than that which we commonly use ; nevertheless 
it is not attracted by the air, nor is it diminished by the 
continual influx of fresh water. The cause of this is 
hidden from us. There may be mountains of salt in the 
sea ; but if the saltness proceeded from this, would not 
the water be Salter in some places than in others ? but 
of this there is no certain proof. It is possible that 
brooks and rivers may bring down salt and nitrous par- 
ticles into the sea ; but what is this to the vast extent of 
the ocean ? But, whatever the cause of this saltness 
may be, it is especially necessary for certain purposes. 
It is this which preserves the water from putrefaction, 
and renders it so weighty, that greater burdens may be 
carried on it from place to place, than can be on fresh 

The colour of the sea also merits our attention. It is 
not the same everywhere. In all waters the colour of the 
sky and of the bottom is seen. Deep waters are black — . 
during a storm they become white and covered with 
froth : they are silvered, gilded, and shaded with the 
most beautiful colours, when the rays of the setting sun 
fall upon them. But, besides all this, different insects, 
remains of marine plants, with the different substances 
which the rivers hurry down into the sea, vary its colour 
still further. When it is calm, it appears sometimes as 
if strewed with beautiful pearls. Often, as a vessel passes 
quickly through the waves, the water appears luminous, 
as if a river of fire followed her. These phenomena 
should be attributed on one hand to sulphureous and 
oily particles, and other inflammable marine substances; 
and on the other hand to shining insects. 

A well-known property of the sea is its flux and re- 

54 J0LY XXII. 

flux. Each day, or rather in the space of twenty-five 
hours, the sea ebbs and flows twice. When the tide 
rises, it is called the flux or flood ; when it falls, it is 
termed the reflux or ebb. This phenomenon is accom- 
panied with many remarkable circumstances. There are 
always a flux and reflux in two parts of the earth at the 
same time ; and these two places are opposite to each 
other : when our antipodes have flood water, we per- 
ceive the same with us. The tide is always lowest when 
we are in the first and last quarter of the moon ; and the 
highest tide takes place generally three days after' the 
new and full moon. Nevertheless, there may be acci- 
dental causes why the tides are higher and lower at one 
time than at another. Tbis phenomenon, long unknown, 
is now perfectly accounted for on the admission of the 
laws of attraction, which have been fully explained and 
established by Sir Isaac Newton. The doctrine of the 
tides is of great advantage to our globe ; because, on. the 
one hand, the flux and reflux tend to purify the sea; 
and on the other, they favour the purposes of naviga- 

But supposing all tbis, marvellous as it may be, is not 
sufficient to engage our attention, probably the creatures 
with which the sea is peopled may excite our admiration 
and surprise. Here a new world is discovered, and the 
number of creatures by which it is inhabited is prodi- 
gious. Aquatic animals are, it must be granted, not so 
varied in their species as the terrestrial ; but they sur- 
pass them in size, and live longer than the inhabitants 
of the earth and the air. The elephant and the ostrich 
are small in comparison of the whale. This is the largest 
fish in the sea; sometimes it is from sixty to seventy 
feet in length : it is as long-lived as the oak, and con- 
sequently no terrestrial animal has so long a life. 

If we can credit certain accounts, there are some ani- 
mals in the sea larger even than the whale. This is a 
sort of crab, called Kraken, which is said to inhabit the 
northern seas, and which is half a German mile in cir- 
cumference ! But who can even enumerate the differ- 
ent kinds of animals which people the surface and 
bottom of the sea ? Who can count their number, and 
describe the form, structure, size, and use of these dif- 


ferent animals ? How infinite is the grandeur of him 
who has created the sea ! 

This is the conclusion which we must naturally draw 
from such reflections. It is not without the most cogent 
reasons that the Creator has designed the ocean and seas 
should occupy two-thirds of our globe. The seas were 
not only to be great reservoirs of water, but also, by the 
means of vapours which are raised from them, were to 
become the source of rain, snow, and similar meteors. 
What wisdom is discoverable in the connexion the seas 
have with each other, and in the uninterrupted motion 
which the Creator has impressed upon them ! What is 
not less worthy our admiration is, that the bottom of the 
sea is nearly of the same nature with the surface of the 
earth. There are found in the sea, rocks, vallies, caverns, 
plains, fountains, rivers, plants, and animals. The isles 
of the sea are no other than the summits of a long chain 
of mountains. And when we consider that the sea is a 
part of our globe which has been less examined than 
the rest, we have reason to believe that it contains a 
number of wonders, which neither the senses nor the un- 
derstanding of man can adequately comprehend; but 
which all proclaim the wisdom and power of the Most 
High. Let us adore our Creator, who has everywhere, 
in the ocean as well as upon the earth, established monu- 
ments of his greatness. 



With a heart full of joy I feel myself in the presence 
of the Author of all that exists, and endeavour to con- 
template his works. I cast my eyes around, and see 
innumerable beauties. What a lovely assemblage of 
colours do I behold ! How pleasing and diversified is 
their mixture ! With what admirable art are those 
shades distributed ! There, a light pencil seems to have 
laid on the colours ; here, they are blended according to 
the nicest rules of art. The colour of the ground is 
always such as best serves to relieve the drapery ; while 


the green which surrounds the flower, or the shade 
which the leaves cast upon it, serves to set off the whole. 

In thus distributing and diversifying the colours, the 
good God seems to have had nothing else in view but to 
afford us agreeable sensations. How great and wisely 
arranged are all the works of the Lord ! We may well 
admire the grandeur of the ends which he has proposed, 
and still more the wisdom of the means which he has 
employed to accomplish those ends. It is with difficulty 
that men succeed even in a single work : after many 
efforts, several of which are superfluous, we sometimes 
happen to succeed in a tolerable imitation of some one of 
the works of nature. But the Supreme Power has, in a 
moment, given existence to millions of beings, and has 
created them all in a state of perfection. The more we 
examine the works of art, the more defective they ap- 
pear. But, though men have been examining the works 
of God for nearly 6000 years, they have never been 
able to discover a single defect in the plan ; nor can they 
imagine anything which could further perfect the execu- 
tion of it. The more we examine his works, the more 
we are astonished at their beauty ; and we always dis- 
cover new marks of grandeur in these masterpieces of 
the divine hand. 

For my part, what fills me most with admiration in 
the shades and tints of flowers, is the simplicity of this 
beautiful work. We might suppose that the Creator 
must have employed an infinity of materials thus to 
embellish nature, and distribute to flowers and plants so 
many magnificent, rich, and splendid colours. But God 
has no need of painful preparations to make the creation 
a theatre of wonders. A single element in his hand as- 
sumes the most beautiful and varied forms. The moisture 
of the earth and air insinuates itself into the tubes of 
plants, and is filtered through a series of transparent 
pipes. This is what works all these wonders, and pro- 
duces all the beauties which we perceive in the vegetable 
kingdom. This is the sole cause of the beauty, life, and 
odour of flowers. If each colour had its particular cause, 
the admiration of the spectator would be diminished : 
but we contemplate with pleasure, and are never weary 
of admiring as an effect of the divine wisdom, a work 


which, diversified in its parts, is nevertheless simple with 
respect to its cause; and in which we see a multitude 
of effects depending on a single spring, that always 
acts in the same manner. 

At this moment, while we examine the diversity of 
tints which colour the flowers, we may feel more than 
ever the value of that reason with which we are endued. 
Without this faculty, we should be deprived of all the 
pleasures which the sight of these flowers affords us, 
and their existence in respect to us would be useless. 
But by the assistance of this faculty, we are capable of 
discerning the innumerable beauties of flowers, the in- 
finitely varied blending of their colours, and the amaz- 
ingly diversified shades which the meadows, vallies, 
mountains, and forests present. Through this faculty, 
-we not only can discern them, but so appreciate their 
beauties as to cause them to contribute to our pleasures. 
We have farther advantage still ; we can make eacli 
flower lead us to the Creator : in each, we may see the 
traces of his perfections, and make their vai ious hues an 
occasion to glorify his holy name. 

O our God and Father! how can we sufficiently 
adore thee for the inestimable gift of reason ! It is right 
that at the sight of thy works we should bless thee, for 
the faculty thou hast granted us to know their beauty, 
and to be able to enjoy them. Without this faculty, 
what should we be, and what would the world be to usl 



About this time we ordinarily experience the greatest 
heats. Probably it will appear extraordinary to some 
to hear that the sun, which now enters Leo, removes 
every day farther from us. When we were nearer this 
luminary, the heat was moderate ; and now that we are 
at a greater distance from him, the heat is intense. But 
does this phenomenon accord with the laws of nature ? 
Certainly ; and it is in the constitution of our globe that 
we must learn the cause. Lately the sun was nearer to 




us ; but as his rays were not sufficiently strong to pene- 
trate deep into the earth, we had only a moderate heat: 
nevertheless, in the space of a few weeks the earth and 
the bodies upon it are so far heated, that even a less de- 
gree of action from the sun produces a greater effect 
than at the beginning of the summer, when he acted 
upon cold bodies. 

This plan of nature displeases many. We hear them 
complaining of that burning heat which enfeebles their 
bodies, and renders them incapable of pursuing their 
business. But is it not very unreasonable to murmur 
against a plan, which, being formed on the immutable 
laws of nature, is therefore inevitable ? Is it not a want 
of gratitude to our heavenly Father, which causes us to 
find fault with his government, which in the end never 
fails to promote the welfare of the world ? And can any 
one seriously wish the season to be less hot ? What ! 
because the heat incommodes us, would we desire that 
so many fruits, which, during the winter, are to be our 
support, should not come to maturity ? I repeat it, our 
murmurs prove our ingratitude to our Creator, who ever 
softens and compensates all inconveniences by certain 
advantages connected with them. For instance, the in- 
habitants of the western parts of Africa, particularly 
those of Cape Verd, and the island of Goree, are ex- 
posed, during the whole year, to the most intense heat 
of the sun ; but their bodies are so constituted that their 
health is not in the least impaired by it ; and the winds 
which blow continually in these countries serve to tem- 
per and cool the air. 

And has the Creator manifested less love to us ? How 
unpardonable should we be, were we insensible of the 
proofs which he gives us of his kindness, even when the 
heat is most oppressive ! Is it not a proof of his tender 
care, that the summer nights are so well calculated to cool 
the air ? Night brings with it a coolness which prevents 
the dilatation of the air ; and, by compressing it, renders 
it more capable of acting powerfully on bodies. A 
single night revives the drooping plants, gives a new 
vigour to enfeebled animals, and refreshes us so that we 
forget the labour and fatigue of the day. Storms, also, 
which spread so much terror, are, in the hands of the 


Creator, means of moderating and cooling the heat of 
the air. And how many fruits have we which possess 
the property of cooling the heat of the hlood, and cor- 
recting the acrimony of the bile ! These are succours 
the more precious, because the poorest among us may 
enjoy them. 

Let us cease, then, to complain of the heat of the sun, 
or the load of suffering under which we languish : both 
belong to the plan of Divine wisdom ; both are assuaged 
by a thousand means, and should excite us to render to 
the Sovereign of the world, and the Arbiter of our lot, 
homage, honour, glory, and thanksgiving. 



Op all parts of nature, the animal kingdom presents 
us with most wonders ; and to a lover of natural history, 
the different properties and different instincts of animals 
are a most interesting study. But to a reflecting mind, 
it is something more than merely an agreeable object ; 
and the operations of animals induce him to trace them 
back to that wisdom which cannot be fathomed, because 
it surpasses all human conceptions. Let this effect be 
produced in us, whilst we notice the singularities observ- 
able in certain animals. 

The manner in which birds and insects lay their eggs 
is worthy of admiration. The grasshopper, the lizard, 
the tortoise, and the crocodile take no care either of 
their eggs or young. They lay their eggs on the ground, 
and leave the care of hatching them to the sun. Other 
species of animals, by natural instinct, lay their eggs in 
those places where the young ones, the moment they 
come out of the shell, find a sufficiency of nourishment. 
The mothers are never mistaken. The butterfly, which 
proceeds from the cabbage-caterpillar, never lays her 
eggs upon flesh ; and the fly, which feeds upon flesh, 
never lays hers on the cabbage. Some animals have so 
much solicitude for their eggs, that they carry them 


whithersoever they go. The spider, called the wanderer, 
carries hers in a little silken bag. When they are 
hatched, they arrange themselves in a particular order 
on the back of 'their mother, who carries this burden 
about with her, and continues for some time to take care 
of them. Certain flies lay their eggs in the bodies of 
living insects, and sometimes in their nests. It is well 
known, that there is not a plant which does not serve 
both to feed and lodge many insects. A fly pierces an 
oak-leaf, and lays an egg in the hole which she has 
made ; this wound quickly closes ; the place swells up, 
and there appears an excrescence on the leaf, commonly 
called a gall. The egg that was enclosed in this growing 
gall grows with it ; and the insect which proceeds from 
it finds, as soon as it is born, both a habitation and 

The care which animals take of their young is almost 
incredible ; and their love for them is often greater than 
for their own lives. With what tenderness do the qua- 
drupeds nourish their young ! They cure their wounds 
by licking them ; they carry them from place to place, 
when any danger threatens; they keep them near to 
themselves, defend and guide them. If they are carni- 
vorous animals, what pains does the dam take to get 
them a morsel of flesh ! With what art does she in- 
struct them to pursue their prey, to divert themselves 
with it when they have taken it, and, lastly, to tear it 
in pieces ! It is impossible to read, without being 
affected, the account of a bitch, who, while they were 
dissecting her, continued to lick her whelps, as if she 
sought, in this maternal care, some relief to her own 
sufferings, and set up a lamentable cry the instant they 
took them away from her. Certain sea-animals, during 
a storm, hide their young in their bellies, and then let 
them out when the tempest is over. 

Each species of animals has its peculiar inclinations 
and wants ; and the Creator provides for both. Let us, 
for example, consider the creatures which are obliged to 
seek their nourishment in the water; and particularly 
aquatic birds. Nature has coated over their feathers 
with a kind of gummy oil, through which the water 
cannot penetrate ; by this means they are never wet in 


diving, which would render them incapable of flying. 
The proportions of their bodies are different, also, from 
those of other birds. Their legs are placed more behind, 
that they may stand upright in the water, and extend 
their wings above it. That they may be able to swim, 
their feet are provided with webs, which, connecting the 
toes, serve them as oars. That they may readily dive, 
nature has given their bodies a peculiar construction ; 
and that they may the more readily seize their prey, 
they have a large beak and a long neck. In a word, 
they are formed exactly in that way which their mode 
of living requires. 

The nautilus is a kind of shell-fish, nearly resembling 
the shell-snail. When it wishes to arise, it places itself 
on the forepart of its shell ; and to render it light, it 
expels the water by a little opening. When it desires 
to descend, it withdraws itself into the bottom of its 
shell; which, filling with water, becomes heavy and 
sinks. If it wishes to sail, it artfully turns its shell, 
which becomes a little gondola ; and then it spreads a 
thin membrane to the wind, which serves for a sail. 
Possibly, it was from the nautilus that men first learned 
the art of navigation. 

It is the same with the actions of animals as with 
their make. The same wisdom which has formed their 
bodies has arranged their members, and assigned them 
a common use ; it has also regulated the different actions 
which we see them perform, and directs them to that 
end which he has proposed in their creation. The brute 
is led to this by the invisible hand of its Creator; it 
performs perfect works, which excite our admiration, 
and appears to act by reason. It stops, when necessary ; 
regulates its works according to circumstances ; and yet, 
perhaps, only follows the impulse of certain hidden 
springs which make it move. It is as an instrument, 
which cannot judge of the work it has executed ; but it 
is directed by the adorable wisdom of our Creator, who 
has circumscribed every insect, as well as every plant, 
within a sphere from which it cannot depart. When, 
therefore, we notice the different instinct and industry 
of animals, we should feel the spirit of veneration, and 
acknowledge we behold a scene where the almighty 


Operator hides himself behind a curtain. But he who 
contemplates the works of nature with seriousness will 
discover the hand of God everywhere ; and an exami- 
nation of the wonderful structure of created beings 
cannot fail to fill him with gratitude to, and reverence 
for, the Creator. 



The exterior of the human body already proclaims 
man's superiority over every living creature. His face, 
directed towards heaven, announces this dignity, which 
is in a certain sense impressed on all his features ; so 
that we may in some measure judge from the counte- 
nance of man what his dignity and destination are. 

While the soul enjoys uninterrupted tranquillity, the 
features remain in a calm and composed state ; but when 
it is agitated with disorderly passions, the countenance 
becomes a living picture, where the paes-'-'T? are painted 
with as much energy as delicacy. E^jry affection of 
the soul has its peculiar expression ; and every change 
in the countenance is the true characteristic of the most 
secret emotions of the heart. The eye, in particular, 
expresses them so visibly, that it is impossible to mistake 
it;. it is more particularly the immediate organ of the 
soul than all the other organs of sense. The most tu- 
multuous passions and the gentlest affections are painted 
with the greatest exactness in this mirror. The eye, 
therefore, may be termed the true interpreter of the 
mind, and the organ of the human intellect. The colour 
of the eyes, and their quick or slow motion, contribute 
much to characterize the physiognomy. Our eyes are 
proportionably nearer to each other than they are in any 
other livjng creature. The space which separates them 
in most animals is so great, that it is impossible for them 
to see the same object with both eyes at once, unless it 
be at a very great distance. 

The eyebrows, together with the eyes, contribute 
most to the formation of the countenance. These parts 


being of a widely different nature from the rest, their 
particular colour renders them more striking than the 
rest of the features. The eyebrows are the shade of the 
picture, which exhibits the drapery and colours. When 
the eyelashes are long and thick, they contribute much 
to render the eye more beautiful, and the look more 
pleasing. There are no creatures, except men and 
monkiqs, which have both the eyelids adorned with eye- 
lashes. Other animals hare none on the lower eyelid ; 
and in man the upper eyelid has more than the lower. 
The eyebrows have only two sorts of motions, which 
they perform by the assistance of the muscles of the 
forehead. By the assistance of one they are raised ; 
by means of another, they are depressed. 

The eyelids guard the eye, and prevent the cornea 
from becoming too dry. The upper one can raise and 
depress itself ; the lower has little motion. Although 
we can move our eyelids when we please, yet, when 
grown heavy with sleep, it is impossible for us to keep 
them open. 

The forehead is the most important part of the face, 
and one of those which contributes most to its beauty. 
In order to this, it must have a proper proportion ; 
neither too full nor too flat, too great nor too small, and 
the hair properly planted on it, so as to form its outline 
and ornament. 

The nose is that part of the face which projects most, 
and has the least motion. Indeed, it has scarcely any, 
except in violent passions. It serves more for the beauty 
of the whole, than for anything that it expresses by 

The mouth and the lips are, on the contrary, capable 
of many changes; and, next to the eyes, the mouth 
expresses the passions best, by the various forms it 
assumes. The tongue serves also to animate and set it 
in play. The redness of the lips and the whiteness of ' 
the teeth add to the charms of the face. 

Hitherto we have only examined the human face 
relatively to the regularity and beauty of its component 
parts, without attempting to explain the different pur- 
poses and uses of these parts. But even under this one 
point of view, we may discover the infinite wisdom of 


Operator hides himself behind a curtain. But he who 
contemplates the works of nature with seriousness will 
discover the hand of God everywhere ; and an exami- 
nation of the wonderful structure of created beings 
cannot fail to fill him with gratitude to, and reverence 
for, the Creator. 



The exterior of the human body already proclaims 
man's superiority over every living creature. His face, 
directed towards heaven, announces this dignity, which 
is in a certain sense impressed on all his features ; so 
that we may in some measure judge from the counte- 
nance of man what his dignity and destination are. 

While the soul enjoys uninterrupted tranquillity, the 
features remain in a calm and composed state ; but when 
it is agitated with disorderly passions, the countenance 
becomes a living picture, where the parses are painted 
with as much energy as delicacy. E-ury affection of 
the soul has its peculiar expression ; and every change 
in the countenance is the true characteristic of the most 
secret emotions of the heart. The eye, in particular, 
expresses them so visibly, that it is impossible to mistake 
it;. it is more particularly the immediate organ of the 
soul than all the other organs of sense. The most tu- 
multuous passions and the gentlest affections are painted 
with the greatest exactness in this mirror. The eye, 
therefore, may be termed the true interpreter of the 
mind, and the organ of the human intellect. The colour 
of the eyes, and their quick or slow motion, contribute 
much to characterize the physiognomy. Our eyes are 
proportionably nearer to each other than they are in any 
other living creature. The space which separates them 
in most animals is so great, that it is impossible for them 
to see the same object with both eyes at once, unless it 
be at a very great distance. 

The eyebrows, together with the eyes, contribute 
most to the formation of the countenance. These parts 


being of a widely different nature from the rest, their 
particular colour renders them more striking than the 
rest of the features. The eyebrows are the shade of the 
picture, which exhibits the drapery and colours. When 
the eyelashes are long and thick, they contribute much 
to render the eye more beautiful, and the look more 
pleasing. There are no creatures, except men and 
monkie,s, which have both the eyelids adorned with eye- 
lashes. Other animals hare none on the lower eyelid ; 
and in man the upper eyelid has more than the lower. 
The eyebrows have only two sorts of motions, which 
they perforin by the assistance of the muscles of the 
forehead. By the assistance of one they are raised ; 
by means of another, they are depressed. 

The eyelids guard the eye, and prevent the cornea 
from becoming too dry. The upper one can raise and 
depress itself; the lower has little motion. Although 
we can move our eyelids when we please, yet, when 
grown heavy with sleep, it is impossible for us to keep 
them open. 

The forehead is the most important part of the face, 
and one of those which contributes most to its beauty. 
In order to this, it must have a proper proportion ; 
neither too full nor too flat, too great nor too small, and 
the hair properly planted on it, so as to form its outline 
and ornament. 

The nose is that part of the face which projects most, 
and has the least motion. Indeed, it has scarcely any, 
except in violent passions. It serves more for the beauty 
of the whole, than for anything that it expresses by 

The mouth and the lips are, on the contrary, capable 
of many changes; and, next to the eyes, the mouth 
expresses the passions best, by the various forms it 
assumes. The tongue serves also to animate and set it 
in play. The redness of the lips and the whiteness of ' 
the teeth add to the charms of the face. 

Hitherto we have only examined the human face 
relatively to the regularity and beauty of its component 
parts, without attempting to explain the different pur- 
poses and uses of these parts. But even under this one 
point of view, we may discover the infinite wisdom of 


Him who, in all his works, takes care to unite beauty 
and utility. We, whose admiration is so often excited 
by the beauty which shines in our fellow-creatures, 
ought to sanctify that admiration, and even increase it, 
by reflecting on Him whose wisdom and goodness are 
so conspicuous in the human frame. When we consider 
our face, it would be well to meditate in silence on the 
prerogatives which the Creator, in forming our features, 
has given us over all other living creatures. It would 
be well, also, to consider the great ends for which man 
was formed ; concerning which, even the features of his 
face may help to instruct him. His features were given 
him for the most noble purposes ; purposes which the 
brute creation cannot fulfil. Our eyes were formed that 
they might take the most delightful prospect of the 
works of God ; our mouth should sing the praises of our 
adorable Creator. In a word, all the features of our 
face should bear testimony to the uprightness of our 
hearts, and the rectitude of our sentiments. 

Finally, the ravages which sickness and death make 
on the face should prevent us from being proud of our 
accomplishments. This last consideration should lead 
us to meditate on the happiness which shall follow the 
resurrection of the just, whose bodies shall be trans- 
formed, embellished, and rendered capable of enjoying 
all the happiness of an eternal glory. 



God has endowed bodies with a force which acts at 
all times, in all places, and in all directions. If a body 
endeavours to move towards one point, more particularly 
than towards another, it is said to gravitate to that point. 
For experience teaches us that bodies tend downwards ; 
if they be at a distance from the surface of the earth, 
they will, if unsupported, fall down in a straight line. 
It is by no means in the body itself that we must seek 
the cause of its gravity ; for a body that falls remains in 
the state in which it fell, till some exterior cause dis- 


places it. It is equally impossible that the air should 
be the cause of this gravity ; since, being itself heavy, 
it must resist the velocity of falling bodies. We must, 
therefore, seek the cause of this gravity elsewhere. 
Perhaps the opinion which comes nearest the truth is, 
that the earth has the same power of attracting bodies, 
placed at a certain distance from it, as the loadstone has 
of attracting iron. But it is possible that the cause of 
gravity is some foreign matter, which is distributed 
through all bodies. 

Although we cannot perfectly determine the cause of 
this property of bodies, yet nothing is more evident than 
the advantages which result from it. Without gravity, 
we could not possibly move ourselves as we now do. 
Our centre of gravity is about the middle of our body, 
■When we lift up the right foot, we must bear this centre 
on the left. If we stoop forward, we are in danger of 
falling ; but by advancing the right foot we prevent the 
fall, and make a step. Thus our walking is, in some 
sort, a series of continually prevented falls, during which 
the centre of gravity is preserved between our feet. 
Hence it is, that in going up a hill we bend the body 
forward, and in going down, bend it back. We also 
stoop forward when we carry a burden upon our shoul- 
ders, and lean back, when we carry one in our arms. 
All this is regulated according to the laws of gravity, 
which directs the motions of animals when they walk, 
swim, or fly. 

The same laws regulate the motions of those prodi- 
gious bodies which roll in the firmament. The sun 
attracts the planets, and each planet in its turn attracts 
its satellites, or, what amounts to the same, the planets 
gravitate towards the sun, and the satellites towards the 
planets ; for bodies which revolve in a circle would de- 
part in a right line from it, if they met with no obstacle. 
The planets revolve in their orbits with astonishing 
velocity, and yet never deviate from their course; and 
the moon never flies off from the earth, though attached 
by no chain to our globe. It would seem, therefore, that 
so rapid a motion as that of the moon must project it far 
into unlimited space, were there not some power which 
continually impelled it toward our earth, and became a 


counterpoise to its centrifugal force. That power is the 
gravitation of the moon towards the earth. Were our 
earth itself either lighter or heavier than it is, what would 
be the consequence ? It would either get too near, or too 
far off from the sun. In the first case, no person would 
be able to endure the heat ; in the second, the cold would 
be insupportable. Every thing on the face of the earth 
would be either burnt up or frozen. What then would 
become of the seasons ? And what would become of a 
thousand things, so indispensably necessary to the being 
and comfort of men ? 

Here again, O Supreme Wisdom, we find a monu- 
ment of thy wonders. By a cause so small in appear- 
ance, thou givest motion to animals, and to the celestial 
bodies. By the laws of gravity alone, thou preventest 
even the smallest grain of dust from being lost, either 
from our earth, or from any of the other globes. But 
it is in this that the greatness of thy power and wisdom 
consists, that often the greatest and most astonishing 
effects are produced by means which appear to us the 
most insignificant. In this respect, what an infinite 
difference, is there between God and man! Vast pre- 
parations and complicated means are necessary for us, 
to bring about the least important ends ! He who dis- 
covers not the greatness of God here must be very in- 
attentive or very ungrateful. May we endeavour to 
avoid both. May we consider the gravity of bodies 
as one of the means of our terrestrial happiness, and 
magnify our Creator with our whole hearts, for this wise 
ordinance ! 



Universal nature is an endless chain of causes and 
effects. And as all the parts of the universe are connected 
with each other, every motion and every event depends 
on a preceding cause, and this event becomes in its turn 
the cause of those effects which succeed it. The whole 


constitution of the world is well calculated to convince 
us, that not chance, but divine art, and a wisdom beyond 
our conception, first erected this astonishing edifice, im- 
pressed motion on its different parts, and determined the 
great chain of events, depending on and succeeding each 
other. It is not difficult to acquire this degree of know- 
ledge; for though that which we have of the consti- 
tution of nature be very limited, we nevertheless still 
see a number of important effects derived from causes 
evident enough to the human understanding. Many 
natural phenomena may furnish us with examples of 

What a variety of effects does the heat of the sun 
produce ! It does not only contribute to the life of an 
innumerable multitude of animals, but also to the vege- 
'tation of plants, to the ripening of seeds and fruits, to 
the fluidity of water, to the elevation of vapours, and 
the formation of clouds, without which neither rain nor 
dew could fall upon the earth. 

The air also is so constituted as to accomplish a variety 
of purposes at once. By means of this element, animal 
bodies are preserved, the lungs cooled, and all the vital 
motions acquire energy. By air the fire burns, and by 
it the flame is fed. By its motion and undulations it 
quickly conveys all sorts of sounds to the ear. It gives 
a spring to winged animals, and enables them to fly 
from place to place. It opens man an easy path through 
the great deep, the vast expanse of which he could not 
pass over without it. It is by the air that the clouds are 
suspended in the atmosphere, till, becoming too weighty, 
they fall down in rain. By the air the morning and 
evening twilight is formed, which tends to lengthen out 
the day; and without it the gift of speech, and the 
sense of hearing, would be useless to us. All these 
advantages, and many more, depend on that air in which 
we live and breathe. This wonderful element, which 
encompasses our globe, which is too subtile to be per- 
ceived by the eye, and whose force, notwithstanding, is 
so great that no other element is able to resist it, is surely 
an evident proof of the wisdom of our Creator ! 

The force of gravitation alone, which subsists in all 
bodies, establishes the earth, preserves the mountains, 


and gives fluidity to the waters. It confines the ocean 
in its depths, and the earth in the orbit which was pre- 
scribed to it. It maintains each being in its proper place 
in nature, and preserves between the heavenly bodies 
those distances which should separate them. 

Who can describe the various uses of water ? It 
serves in general to dilate, soften, and mix a great num- 
ber of bodies which we could not otherwise use. It is 
the most wholesome of all drinks, the best nourishment 
of plants, and gives motion to our mills, and to a vast 
number of machines, procures us a multitude of fish, 
and brings us the treasure of other worlds. 

How various and innumerable are the effects which 
fire produces ! By it solid bodies are either melted and 
changed into fluids, or become solid bodies of another 
kind. It causes fluids to boil, or reduces them into 
vapour. By it heat is distributed through all bodies; 
and it contributes to procure animals not only life, but 
its principal comforts. 

It is not only in the kingdom of nature that we see 
the most diversified effects proceeding from the same 
cause, for often in the moral world one single propensity 
of the soul produces effects not less diversified. Let us, 
for example, consider the natural inclination we have to 
love our fellow-creatures. From this proceed the care 
which parents take of their children, the social union, 
the bonds of friendship, patriotism, goodness in those 
who govern, and fidelity in those who obey. Thus, a 
single propensity keeps each individual in the circle pre- 
scribed for him, becomes the bond of civil society, the 
principle in the hands of God of all virtuous actions, 
noble enterprises, and innocent recreations. All this 
proves, that the materials which compose the world 
were not thrown together by chance, without relation to 
or connexion with each other ; but on the contrary, that 
the world is a regular whole, which the divine power 
has arranged with infinite wisdom. 

In every part, in every phenomenon of the visible 
world, some rays of ineffable wisdom blaze forth before 
our eyes. But how much escapes the most attentive 
examination, and the profoundest researches of the most 
enlightened genius ! If we seek in an object traces of 


the divine wisdom, sometimes it shows itself on one 
side of the object, while it seems to hide itself on the 
other. Let not this discourage us from meditating on 
the works of God; and let us use the wonders which 
he does discover to us, to excite us to glorify his name. 
Then our hearts shall feel the truth and force of those 
words of David : " The works of the Lord are great, 
sought out of all those who have pleasure therein," Pa. 
cxi. 2. 



Vegetables are subject to many diseases. Some- 
times they are covered with a whitish matter, which 
sticks to them like dust ; this is called mildew. This 
does not proceed from insects, as is commonly believed, 
but from a stagnation in the juices, and a commence- 
ment of corruption, which attracts the insects, and 
entices them to lay their eggs upon it. The stagnation 
of the juices is the first stage of corruption ; and it is 
supposed that this alone is sufficient to attract insects, 
because they are seen swarming by thousands, as soon 
as through a natural or artificial cause the circulation of 
the juices is stopped in a tree. Hence it is, that the 
weakest and worst situated trees are most frequently ex- 
posed to this malady. If the insects were really the 
cause of it, it would be impossible to produce it by art ; 
whereas, if a tree be designedly wounded, or be deprived 
of the care it requires, this is sufficient to bring the mil- 
dew. On a tree thus artificially weakened, thousands 
of insects settle at once, while the neighbouring trees 
are free from them. Thus, this corruption should no 
more be attributed to insects than that of flesh. It 
seems merely to be occasioned by the stagnation of 
juices, an accident which many circumstances may occa- 

Often a matter which resembles dew, but gluey, 
sweet, and corrosive, scorches and mars the plants ; this 
is called the honey-dew. It was imagined that insects 


extracted this gluey matter from vegetables, or that 
bees brought their honey thither. But many experi- 
ments have proved that this matter falls from the air in 
the form of dew. In some countries it lies in little 
drops on a number of vegetables of different kinds, and 
in the space of a night it covers almost all the leaves 
of a long range of trees, on which before none was per- 

Possibly this dew may be formed from the exhalations 
of flowers, and the blossoms of trees, from which the 
bees know how to extract such good honey ; and if it 
fall in some places more than others, it must be owing 
to the direction of the wind. Perhaps, also, this matter 
may be the effect of a disease in plants whose juices are 
vitiated, and which may attract insects as the mildew 
mentioned above. For the weakest ears, boughs, 
branches, bushes, and trees, are those which are most 
subject to this disease. It has also been observed, that 
the leaves on which this species of dew falls, spot, 
blacken, and spoil; and it is very probable that this 
substance is the cause of it. 

Here also we find traces of the wisdom of the Cre- 
ator; for seeing the insects have need of nourishment, 
it is for our benefit that they should be obliged to seek 
it on those vegetables, which on account of their diseased 
state would be unprofitable or injurious to it. This is 
a new proof of the particular provision which God made 
for man when he established the world. It is owing to 
this wise arrangement, that these animals take nothing 
of what is necessary for our support, but on the contrary, 
attach themselves to that which would be destructive to 
us. It is a truth that in the economy of nature each 
plant, tree, and animal serves for the support of differ- 
ent species of animals. We avenge ourselves on those 
which are troublesome to us, by seeking to destroy 
them ; probably we should be rather led to preserve them, 
if we considered how useful they are, and how little 
real damage the greater part of them occasions. 




It is a great proof of the goodness of the divine 
omnipotence, that a sufficiency of food is provided to 
support all the living creatures with which this world is 
stocked. It is not indeed astonishing that the countries 
under the temperate zones should furnish subsistence 
for their inhabitants; but that it should be the same 
every where else, even in places where we could least 
expect to find food and pasture, and that the necessary 
aliments should ever be found in sufficient quantity to 
support so many species of animals, is what must be 
attributed to the tender care of a wise Providence. We 
may first observe that God has proportioned sustenance 
to the wants of the animals which are to consume it. 

This supply is superabundant almost everywhere ; 
but this profusion is not such as that the aliments cor- 
rupt and get spoiled, for this would be prejudicial to the 
world. What is most remarkable in this matter is, that 
among so many sorts of food, the most useful and neces- 
sary are in general the most common ; and such as are 
most easily multiplied. As there are a great many crea- 
tures which feed on grass, the fields, which are nume- 
rous are well covered with grass and wholesome plants, 
which grow of themselves, and easily resist the intempe- 
rature of the air. Is it not a matter worthy of atten- 
tion, that corn, which is the principal food of man, can 
be cultivated with so little trouble, and multiplies itself 
in so astonishing a manner ? For instance, if a bushel 
of wheat be sown in a good soil, it will produce one 
hundred and fifty. 

Is it not a very wise appointment of the Creator, 
that the taste of animals should be so different; that 
some love to feed on herbs, others on corn; some on 
flesh, others on worms, insects, &c. ; some are easily 
satisfied, others are insatiable. If all sorts of animals 
must have had the same kind of food, the earth would 


be speedily turned into a vast desert. The difference of 
tastes which we perceive among animals is a certain 
proof that it is not by chance that they are attached to 
this or that sort of food, but is owing to natural in- 
stinct, which causes them to prefer those aliments which 
are best suited to the natures of their bodies. By this 
means, all the productions of the earth and sea are well 
distributed. Not only every living creature is richly 
provided for, but even the things which, becoming corrupt, 
would be injurious, serve for a useful purpose ; for the 
most wholesome birds would perish, and the dead car- 
cases of fish, birds, and beasts would exhale a most 
deadly poison, without this wise appointment of the 
Creator, who has ordained that various animals should 
find in these things an agreeable nourishment. 

Food offers itself spontaneously to the greater part 
of beasts, notwithstanding they require great art to 
discern it, and must be prudent and cautious in their 
choice. The aliments are so prepared that what is use- 
ful to one species is hurtful to another, and turns to 
poison. After many experiments, botanists have found 
that cows eat of 276 kinds of grass and herbs, and reject 
218; that goats use 449, and leave 126 untouched; 
that sheep feed on 387, and that there are 141 which 
they will not eat ; that the horse takes 262, and rejects 
212 ; that swine are contented with 72, and that there 
are 171 which they will not feed on. Other animals 
are obliged to seek their food laboriously, and afar off; 
to dig for it in the earth, or to collect it from a thousand 
places where it is scattered, or even to draw it from 
another element. Several are obliged to choose the most 
favourable time of the night that they may satisfy their 
hunger in safety ; others have to prepare their food, take 
the seeds out of their husks, to break those which are 
hard, swallow little stones in order to assist digestion, 
take off the heads of insects, upon which they feed, 
break the bones of the prey they have taken, and turn 
the fish which they have seized that they may swallow 
them by the head. Many would perish, did they not 
collect in their nests provisions for the future. Others 
could never catch their prey without having recourse to 
wiles and cunning, spreading their nets, laying their 


snares, and digging holes. Some pursue their prey on 
the land, others in the water, and others in the air. 

The more the nourishment of animals and their man- 
ner of procuring it are diversified, the more we should 
admire the wisdom and goodness of God in the preserva- 
tion of his creatures. Let us reflect on the glorious per- 
fections of our heavenly.Father. How many occasions 
do we find tomagnify his name ! 



Glory be to God Most High ! Magnify the Lord, O 
ye'heavens ! Who would not delight to praise his name ? 
Thou sun, exalt his power; thou moon, magnify thy 
author; ye stars, the brilliant flambeaux of the night, 
glorify our God ! Ye clouds, which he suspends in the 
air, proclaim his greatness ! He has spoken, and ye re- 
ceived existence ! Let all beings rejoice in his goodness ! 
Celebrate him, all ye inhabitants of the earth ! Let the 
monsters from the depths of the abyss praise their Crea- 
tor ! Let the fire proclaim his power, and the mountains 
his strength ! Let the ascending vapours be an incense 
to his praise ! Let the tempest, which terrifies by its 
noise, while it is a blessing to the world, be a hymn in 
honour of his power ! Ye peaceful flocks, which feed on 
the grass of the fields ; and ye trees, laden with bless- 
ings, celebrate the beneficent God ! Let the notes of the 
airy songsters, let the industry of the insect which 
crawls on the earth, and let all that exists, magnify his 
majesty ! Great is the Lord Jehovah ! Let us praise 
and exalt his name ! The heavens and the earth are 
full of his glory! 


The whole height of the human body varies con- 
siderably ; and whether more or less, is here of little con- 
sequence. The ordinary height is from five to six feet. 



Some of those who inhabit the northern countries along 
the frozen seas are less than five feet high. The shortest 
men we know of, are those who inhabit the tops of the 
mountains in the island of Madagascar. These are 
scarcely four feet high. Many of these dwarfish people 
came originally from countries where the inhabitants 
are of the ordinary size ; and the principal cause of their 
degeneracy must be sought in the nature of the climate 
where they now live. The excessive cold which pre- 
vails there during the greatest part of the year causes 
both vegetables and animals to be less than in other 
places ; and may it not have the same influence on men? 

On the other hand, there are nations of a gigantic 
size. Of these, the most celebrated are the Patagonians, 
who dwell near the straits of Magellan. We are assured 
that they are from seven to twelve feet high. It should 
not appeal- impossible that there are people of a larger 
size than Europeans ; for, besides the traces which we 
have of this in antiquity, we have seen in our own climate 
men from six feet and a half to eight feet high and 
upwards, who were notwithstanding, in general, well 
made, healthy, and fit for all those exercises and labours 
which require activity and strength. 

Adorable Creator ! thy wisdom is evident also in the 
varieties of the human form. All that thou hast made, 
in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, has 
been by weight, number, and measure. Everything 
bears thy image : the dwarf, as well as the giant ; the 
blade of grass, as well as the oak ; the worm, as well as 
the elephant. 



O Father, Creator of the universe, and Preserver of 
every living creature ; how great is thy majesty I How 
many are the wonders which thou presentest to the eyes 
of man ! It is thy hand which has spread out these hea- 
vens, and strewed them with stars ! 

To-day, I yet behold the sun coming forth in all his 


splendour, to reanimate nature. To-morrow, it is possi- 
ble, I shall not enjoy the pleasure of hearing those birds 
which now cause the woods, vallies, and fields to resound 
with their melodious notes. I feel that I am mortal, 
and my life withers like the grass of the fields ; it fades 
as the flower cut ofF from the branch, where it grew. 
Who can tell how soon that word of the Almighty shall 
reach my ear, Man, return to thy dust ! 

When the grave shall have swallowed me up ; when 
silence and darkness shall have encompassed me about ; 
when worms shall have fed on my mortal body ; what 
will then remain of all my earthly possessions ! Shall not 
all be lost to me, though all had here succeeded accord- 
ing to my wishes, and I had enjoyed unmixed happi- 

"O how foolish should I be, were I to attach myself to 
the perishing goods of this life ; were I to aspire after 
great riches, or be ambitious of empty honours; or if, 
permitting myself to be dazzled by vain splendour, envy 
and pride should find access to my heart ! 

If, too eager in my desires, I have pursued what I 
ought not to have aspired to, I humble myself before 
thee, O God ! Behold me, O my Maker ; and let that 
which thy wisdom has appointed, be done unto me ! 

Foolish man, who is led astray by pride, prescribes 
laws to his Creator ! He dares to blame the purposes of 
eternal wisdom ! And thou, Almighty Friend of Man ! 
thou lovest him more than he loves himselfj when thy 
goodness denies him those deceitful enjoyments which 
are the objects of his wishes. 

When in the morning, on the green turf covered with 
dew, everything presents itself in a pleasing form ; when 
the wings of the night have cooled the sultry air of sum- 
mer ; Wisdom thus accosts me : O mortal, why dost 
thou torment thyself with anxious cares about the future? 
Why dost thou abandon thyself to wretchedness? Is 
not God thy Father"? Art not thou his child ? Shall not 
he who formed thee take care of his own work ? The 
plan of thy existence is not limited by earth ; it takes in 
eternity! Thy life is but a moment, and the longest 
earthly felicity is no more than a pleasing dream. O 
man, God has made thee immortal ! 



The contemplation of immortality elevates us above 
the earth, the universe, and time itself. Manifest thy- 
self in my heart when, seduced by false views, I am ready 
to depart from the paths of virtue ! 

The roses which crown the head of the vicious shall 
soon fade ; his shameful enjoyments dishonour him, and 
repentance succeeds them. I am only a sojourner upon 
earth, and immortal joys alone are worth my pursuit. 

O thou, who delightest in dispensing blessings, give 
me a heart which loves nothing but goodness ; a heart, 
where virtue and holiness reign ! Let others covet 
worldly prosperity ; I ask of thee, my God, grace to be 
contented with my situation, to make me faithful in the 
discharge of my duty, and deserving the name of a wise 
man and a Christian ! 


Mv soul, bless the Lord ; and let all that is within 
me praise his holy name ! Bless the Lord, my soul, 
and forget not his benefits ! Is he not thy Father and 
thy Sovereign ? Is it not he who has given thee thy 
being ; who has created thee immortal, intelligent, and 
capable of knowing and praising him? Is it not the 
Lord who has formed thy frame, that wonderful assem- 
blage of flesh and veins ; who maintains thy breath, and 
keeps all thy bones that not one of them is broken ? To 
whom art thou indebted for life, health, and happiness ? 
Is it not to thy God ? Look behind on the path in which 
he has led thee from the first moment of thy existence ; 
is it not covered with monuments of his goodness ? 

Being favoured by thy Creator, lift thy eyes, and con- 
template the innumerable benefits which surround thee ; 
but at the same time fix thy thoughts on futurity, and 
see what faith discovers beyond the grave. Endeavour 
to conceive the ecstasy thou shalt experience, when, 
freed from evil and imperfection, immersed in holy and 
heavenly joy, and clothed with a glorious body, thou 
shalt approach God, thy Creator and Preserver; and 
Jesus, who has purchased thee this celestial happiness, 


who shall place thee upon his throne, that thou mayest 
eternally enjoy his glory ! 

Prostrate thyself, child of God, and inheritor of eternal 
happiness ; prostrate thyself, and let emotions of the 
most lively gratitude fill thy whole heart; and begin 
here below the occupation of eternity ! Praise the Lord, 
O my soul ! 



The wheat plant is composed of the principal stem, 
the* stalks growing out of the sides, and the branches 
which spring out of those. The stalk begins to form as 
soon as four green leaves make their appearance. If 
the little plant be then taken, and the under leaf be cau- 
tiously pressed or separated, a little white point will ap- 
pear, which by degrees grows into a stalk, and the root 
appears under the first leaf. The white point grows out 
of the substance of a knob, unfolds itself into green 
leaves, and produces a new point at the side. But these 
different points, and the stalks which grow out of them, 
are not all designed to bear fruit ; several of them wither 
and fall off. When the principal stem has got a little 
growth, a considerable revolution takes place in the 
plant; all the sap is then employed in the formation 
of the ear. 

But before this, when the plant begins to vegetate, 
four, sometimes six, leaves are observed to spring from 
so many knobs : these prepare the nutritive juice for the 
ear, which may be seen, in miniature, when in spring we 
divide a stalk in the middle. Even in autumn this ear 
may be seen like a little cluster, to which the knobs are 
still very closely united. When the plant begins to put 
forth his seed, the two upper leaves of the stalk join to- 
gether, inclose the ear, and protect it, till it has acquired 
some degree of consistence. Before this, all the knobs, 
and particularly the two last, still very soft, are very 
close together, and the intervals which separate these 
knobs are of course very small ; but as soon as the ear 


has pierced through its coats, all these parts lengthen, 
and the leaves give them up all the juices they contain. 
The knohs harden by degrees, the lower leaves dry up, 
and the sap which nourished them is now employed only 
in strengthening the stalk. 

After all these preparations the blossom appears, 
which furnished the grain with its best nourishment. 
This blossom is a small white tube extremely slender, 
which comes from the seed leaf. Many other little tubes 
encompass this bag : they are first yellowish, afterwards 
they grow brown, and finally become blackish, before 
they fade and fall off. The principal use of these tubes 
is to nourish a little tuft which may be seen in the seed- 
bag. As soon aS the corn has done blossoming, the 
grains which contain the germ are seen, and which come 
to then perfection a long time before the mealy substance 
appears. This substance gradually multiplies, whilst 
the sap collects round a part extremely fine and delicate, 
resembling down. This down, which continues after the 
blossom, serves, among other uses, to support the opening 
of the great canal or tube which goes through the corn. 
The fruit ripens as soon as it has attained its full growth : 
then the tube and the ears begin to grow white ; and 
the green colour of the seeds changes into a yellow, or 
dark brown. These seeds are, notwithstanding, very soft 
as yet, and their mealy part contains a great deal of 
moisture; but, when it arrives at its full maturity, it 
becomes dry and hard. 

We cannot sufficiently admire that wisdom of God 
which appears in the formation and growth of a stalk of 
wheat. Those who are accustomed to reflection may see 
it in the smallest tube. For instance, the leaves which 
surround it, before it has acquired its natural size, have 
their use ; and it appears that the wisdom of the Crea- 
tor has placed them round the stalk for the same pur- 
pose that an architect erects a scaffolding about the 
building which he intends to rear, and which he pulls 
down when the building is completed. For, as soon as 
the tube has acquired the length and consistence which 
it ought to have, the leaves which protected it dry and 
perish. Whole months pass away before the ear ventures 
to expose itself to the action of the air ; but as soon as 


all is prepared for the formation of the fruits and flowers, 
they appear in a few days. With what skill are the 
tubes and ears constructed! If the first were higher, the 
nutritious juice could not so well penetrate them. If, on 
the contrary, the grain had been placed lower, birds and 
other animals could easily reach to and destroy it. If the 
stem were weaker and thinner, the wind would break it ; 
and if it were stronger and thicker, small animals might 
lodge in it, and the birds perch on it and pick out the grain. 
Merciful and beneficent Father ! may all those who at 
present walk around the fields of wheat, and behold with 
joy that forest of waving ears, feel at the sight all those 
sentiments of admiration and love which thy wisdom 
and goodness should naturally excite ! May each of 
those, for whose sake thou causest these abundant har- 
vests to ripen, render the thanks which are so justly thy 



The sun appears to have not only a diurnal motion, 
which conveys it from east to west, and causes day 
and night ; but also another motion from west to 
east, by means of which it returns at the end of 365 
days to the same star in the heavens, from which it 
appeared to have been removing for six months, and to 
which it seemed to approach for the other six. 

Hence ancient astronomers divided the seasons by the 
stairs which the sun seemed to pass in his annual course. 
This course they divided into twelve constellations; these 
are the twelve signs of the zodiac, which they termed 
the twelve houses of the sun, because he seemed to 
dwell a month in each of these signs. 

The summer season begins when the sun enters Can- 
cer, which happens the 21st or 22nd of June. The sun 
is then at its greatest height above our horizon, and sends 
his rays almost perpendicularly upon us ; and it is at this 
time that the heats of summer begin, which increase 
more and more in the following month, in proportion as 


the earth is heated by the scorching rays of the sun. 
Hence it is that the month of July, and a part of August, 
are generally the hottest part of the year; and expe- 
rience has proved that the heat is at its greatest height 
from the 20th of July to the 20th of August. Now of 
all the stars with which the sun comes into conjunction, 
the dog-star is the most brilliant. Lost in the rays of 
the sun, it disappears from our eyes for a month, as is 
successively the case with all the stars which the sun 
meets with in his course ; and the month of its disap- 
pearing is the time called the dog-days. 

These observations would be of little importance, if 
they did not serve to combat a prejudice deeply rooted in 
the minds of many. An old tradition attributes the 
beat which is commonly felt in these times, to the in- 
fluence of the dog-star on the earth, on men, and on 
animals. This opinion is absurd from this circumstance 
only, that the occultation of the dog-star in the rays of 
the sun does not always take place in that time which 
we call the dog-days. These days, properly speaking, 
do not begin till the end of August, and do not end till 
the 20th of September. And as the dog-star, or Sirius, 
always advances further, it will in time reach to October 
and November, and in the end to January ; so that the 
most intense cold of the year will prevail in the dog- 

When we reflect on this, we see it is impossible that 
this star should occasion those heats which are felt on 
the earth, and the consequences resulting from them. 
When, therefore, in the supposed dog-days, wine or beer 
spoils in bad cellars ; when matters apt to ferment turn 
sour ; when ponds dry up, and fountains cease to flow ; 
when dogs and other animals, and even men themselves, 
are attacked with madness; when we are seized with 
maladies which an imprudent conduct during the heat 
brings upon us ; this does not happen because a star is 
hidden behind the sun ; it is the extreme heat of the 
air in that season, and our own imprudence, which are 
the alone causes of all these effects. 

It is therefore high time to renounce a prejudice which 
does little honour to the human understanding. He that 
can persuade himself that certain figures which his 


imagination has placed in the sky, can have any influence 
on the earth, or on the health and reason of man, dis- 
covers a great want of judgment. It is not the stars, 
hut ourselves, that we should accuse of the evils which 
we suffer. If, therefore, mortal maladies should prevail 
at this season, let us beware of attributing this to the in- 
fluence of the dog- star, which is purely chimerical ; let 
us rather believe that they originate in our inadvertency 
and misconduct. To consider the subject seriously, we 
sin against a wise Providence by indulging such preju- 
dices. Can we suppose that the supremely good God, 
who governs the world, has created any thing in heaven 
or earth for the torment and misery of his creatures ? 
Would not this be to believe in an inevitable fatality, 
which we cannot admit while we acknowledge a Creator 
whose essence is wisdom and goodness. Instead of being 
guilty of such an error, let us glorify God, and secure 
our own tranquillity, by believing that we are under the 
protection of a most indulgent Parent, without whose 
permission not even one of our hairs can perish. 


The air we breathe is essentially necessary for the 
support of our lives ; no animal can long continue in 
life in the absence of air. It was the universal opinion 
of mankind, till of late years, that the air of the atmo- 
sphere is of the same kind, and that all sorts of air is 
of that same nature ; the only difference arising from 
the adventitious mixture of exhalations and effluvia from 
other substances. But the discoveries made in the pre- 
sent and in the closing part of the last century, have en- 
tirely removed this ignorance, and dissipated this dark 
cloud from the face of science. 

We observe bodies under various forms : — 1st. The 
solid, or matter cohering in firm masses : these are dif- 
ferent in weight, figure, hardness, colour, texture, and 
in many other properties. 2nd. The liquid form of mat- 
ter varies also ; there are many sorts possessing properties 
exceedingly diversified. 3rd. The form of elastic fluids, or 

e 3 



the gases of which emhrace many sorts, are distinguished 
likewise by their peculiar properties. 

The property which characterizes this last class of 
bodies is, that it is capable of great compression, and that 
it restores itself to the same dimensions on the removal 
of the compressing force, as we see when common air 
is compressed in a syringe, condenser, bellows, or others 

The main body of the atmosphere consists of air. 
There are, indeed, several substances in it, as vapour of 
water, and various exhalations and effluvia ; but these 
are inconsiderable in comparison of the part properly 
denominated air. In 1774, this air was found to consist 
of two sorts, quite different from each other. The dis- 
covery was made by Dr. Priestley in England ; and about 
the same time by Scheele in Sweden. Twenty-two parts 
of one hundred, by measure, of atmospheric air, is of a 
nature fitted in a high degree to support the combustion 
of bodies, and no bodies will burn in the air when de- 
prived of this part. It is called oxygen, because it con- 
verts many bodies into acids by its union with them ; it 
is this portion, also, which supports animal life, and the 
combustion of burning bodies. The other part, being 
about seventy-eight measures in every hundred, has 
been called azote, because it is of itself destructive of 
animal life. It is, however, more commonly called ni- 
trogen, because, in union with oxygen, it forms nitric 
acid. Did the air consist of oxygen alone, it would 
prove too powerful for our frame, and would speedily 
waste the vital spark which it now feeds ; as it would 
also soon exhaust all combustible matter. But diluted 
as it is with so large a portion of nitrogen, it becomes 
congenial to our constitutions, and is fit for ten thousand 
purposes in the economy of nature. 

Farther investigation soon proved that there is an ex- 
tensive class of bodies which have the mechanical pro- 
perties of air. They are called gases; different sorts 
having properties in many respects widely different. 
Some few are simple or elementary, and many are com- 
pounds. They are fluids, compressible, elastic, and 
transparent. The atoms which compose them are very 


probably kept at a distance from each other by a repel- 
lent force, which becomes greater as they are pressed 
nearer together. 

Steam and various vapours are of the same nature 
with the gases, excepting that their elastic state is not 
permanent. They return to a liquid or solid form on 
the abstraction of caloric, which substance seems to be 
the universal cause of this form of bodies. 

Besides the two above mentioned, there are two other 
simple permanent gases, viz. hydrogen and chlorine. 

Hydrogen is so named, because, in union with oxygen, 
it constitutes water. It is the lightest of all gases, being 
14f times lighter than common air, and 16 times lighter 
than oxygen gas; 100 cubic inches weigbing only 2} 
grains. On this account it has been employed to inflate 
-balloons. Burning bodies plunged in it are extinguished, 
and animals cannot live in this gas. It has the curious 
property" of burning, when lighted in contact with oxy- 
gen gas, emitting a flame of a yellowish white colour ; 
and it may be mixed, at common temperatures, with 
oxygen gas, and nothing very remarkable takes place. 
But if a lighted taper be applied to the mixture, or an 
electric spark be made to pass through it, a violent ex- 
plosion ensues, and the two gases unite, forming a new 
body, which is found to be pure water. Two measures 
of hydrogen always unite with one of oxygen ; if this 
proportion be exceeded in the mixture on either side, 
the excess remains in the vessel in its usual state. Hy- 
drogen enters into combination with many other bodies. 
and particularly it forms a considerable portion of vege- 
tables. Combined with chlorine gas, it forms muriatic 
acid. This last mentioned gas is 36 times heavier than 
hydrogen, and possesses many remarkable properties. 

The compound gases are numerous. About forty of 
them have been examined with accuracy. That which 
is obtained from pit-coal, of late so usefully applied to 
the lighting up of our streets and manufactories, is car- 
bureted hydrogen gas. It rises abundantly from stag- 
nant water, when the mud is stirred at the bottom ; and 
exhales too, in large quantities, from some coal mines, 
often proving destructive to the miners by its taking fire 
on the approach of their lights. It was called the fire- 


damp. The explosive effects of it are obviated by Sir 
H. Davy's safety lamp. It is composed of hydrogen and 
carbon (charcoal), and was one of the first elastic fluids 
distinguished from common air with certainty. When 
charcoal is burned in a vessel of oxygen gas, and the 
products are preserved, it is found that a gas very dif- 
ferent from the oxygen occupies its place in this new gas : 
any burning body is immediately extinguished by it, and 
an animal put into it immediately dies. Experiments 
show that it is equal in weight to the oxygen employed 
and the charcoal burnt, and is a combination of these 
two substances. It exists in abundance in chalk, lime- 
stone, marble, and many other substances ; and is like- 
wise formed during the vinous fermentation of liquors, 
and in the burning of charcoal. It is much heavier than 
common air, and is often found at the bottom of wells, 
brewers' vats, and in cellars. People should not sleep in 
close rooms where charcoal is burnt, or near lime-kilns ; 
and workmen should not descend into wells, cellars, 
or brewers' vats, without caution. When danger is 
suspected, a lighted candle should first be let down ; if 
it go out, quick lime should be let down and sprinkled 
with water, and this will absorb the gas. When found 
in mines and caverns, it is called the choke-damp. Its 
destructive effect arises from its causing suffocation. It 
has acid properties, and has been designated by several 
names by those who have examined it, as gas sylvestre, 
fixed air, aerial acid, mephitic acid, calcareous acid ; but 
since the true discovery of its composition, it has been 
called carbonic acid gas. It is of extensive use in the 
operations of nature ; plants decompose it, the carbon 
entering into their substance ; it resists putrefaction. By 
artificial pressure, this gas is condensed in water, which 
absorbs it, when it becomes brisk and pleasant to drink, 
having many medicinal virtues. The other gases have 
their various uses, and contribute to accomplish the gra- 
cious and wise designs of our beneficent God. All his 
works praise him ; and shall man, who is capable of 
contemplating these works, forget to acknowledge in holy 
reverence the Lord of earth and skies ? The different 
kinds of air are doubtless necessary to the perfection of 
his works. They all contribute to our benefit, and are 


in such proportions to each other, as contribute most of 
all to the general good and happiness of mankind. 



People fall asleep with more or less rapidity, accord- 
ing to their constitution and state of health. But whe- 
ther sleep come suddenly or slowly, it always comes in 
the same way ; and the preceding circumstances are the 
same in all men. 

The first thing that happens when we begin to sleep, 
is the stupefaction of the senses, which, no longer re- 
ceiving impressions from external objects, relax and fall 
by degrees into a state of inactivity. Hence it follows, 
that the attention diminishes, and is at last lost ; the 
memory becomes disturbed, the passions become calm, 
and the connexion of thought and reasoning becomes 
deranged. As long as we perceive sleep, it is but the 
first step to it ; we are not sleeping, but dozing. To be 
properly asleep, we must have no longer that conscious- 
ness, that reflected idea of ourselves, which depends on 
the exercise of our memory. To the stupefaction of our 
senses is soon added a stiffness and insurmountable re- 
sistance of the muscles. This is the second stage of 
sleep. This stage produces several symptoms in the 
machine, which may be observed in those who sleep in 
a chair. The eyelids wink, and open and shut of them- 
selves, and at last sink down ; the head totters, and falls 
forward ; we endeavour to erect it, but it falls lower 
still ; and at last we have no more strength to raise it up ; 
the chin rests on the breast, and in this attitude sleep 
is quietly continued. While the head continues to totter 
from side to side, all the muscles are not as yet com- 
pletely relaxed ; but a little after, the relaxation becomes 
total, and the will has no power to prevent it. When 
sleep is profound, all the voluntary and animal functions 
are suspended; but the natural or vital functions are 
then performed with more effect. This is the third change 
which sleep produces in us. 


The preparation of humours by the chyle is better per- 
formed when we sleep. When we are awake, the na- 
tural motions are sometimes disturbed by those which 
are voluntary ; and the motion of the fluids is accele- 
rated in some vessels, and retarded in others. The blood 
is wasted, so to speak, in external action, and conse- 
quently it does not supply the internal parts in such 
abundance. The circulation of the blood is very strong 
in those parts of our bodies which are in motion ; and 
is continually pressing the humours in the secreting ves- 
sels, whilst, on the contrary, it is so weak in others, that 
the chyle can scarcely be changed into blood. A sweet 
sleep re-establishes -the equilibrium everywhere ; the 
vessels are equally opened ; the juices run uniformly ; 
the heat is preserved in a proper degree : in a word, 
nothing is dissipated ; all goes to the profit of the ma- 
chine. Hence it is, that after a good sleep, we feel 
rested, refreshed, strong, and vigorous. 

All these circumstances are well calculated to cause us 
to acknowledge the goodness of God towards us. What 
preparatives, what tender care to procure us the blessing 
of sleep ! What merits our attention and gratitude 
most is, that sleep is accompanied with a universal stu- 
pefaction of the senses, which comes upon us unawares, 
and which we cannot resist. The first of these cir- 
cumstances renders sleep more sound and refreshing. 
The second makes it an inevitable necessity. What ad- 
mirable wisdom of Providence appears in the relaxation 
of the muscles during sleep ! The first which grows 
stiff is destined to defend one of the most precious of 
our organs, and one that is most exposed to danger, viz. 
the eye. As soon as we grow drowsy, the eyelid falls 
down of itself, covers and protects the eye till we awake. 
In other parts of our body, the muscles contract with 
more force ; because their being relaxed might be incon- 
venient, and even dangerous. 

Let, therefore, the hour in which we are disposed to 
enjoy the sweets of sleep be preceded with thanksgiving 
to our heavenly Father. Let us bless him, not only be- 
cause the days happily succeed each other, but because 
he has constituted us in such a manner that sleep re- 
freshes and recruits our strength. Let us lie down with 


these meditations ; and let them be the first which shall 
present themselves to us when Ave awake. 



"VVe may easily be convinced of the infinite divisi- 
bility of bodies, by the different perfumes which plants 
and flowers exhale. How amazingly small must the 
odoriferous corpuscles of a carnation be, which diffuse 
themselves over a whole garden, and meet the sense of 
smelling everywhere ! If this be not a satisfactory proof 
of this extreme divisibility, let us consider other objects 
which nature presents us ; and, for instance, let us exa- 
mine one of those silk threads, the work of a despicable 
worm. This thread, which is 360 feet in length, weighs 
only a grain. Consider, again, into how many parts a 
length of 360 feet may be divided, without any of the 
parts becoming imperceptible. An inch can be divided 
into 600 equal parts, each of which will be as thick as a 
child's hair, and consequently may be easily seen by the 
naked eye. Therefore a grain weight of this silk may 
be divided into at least 2,592,000 equal parts, each of 
which may be seen without the assistance of a micro- 
scope. And as these same parts may be farther divided 
into many other millions of parts, a division which may 
be continued beyond the reach of thought, it is mani- 
fest that this progression may be continued ad infinitum. 
The last particles which cannot be separated by human 
industry must still have extension, and consequently be 
capable of division ; although this cannot be realized in 
this world. 

If we examine the animal kingdom, we shall have 
new proofs of the infinite divisibility of matter. A great 
naturalist put pepper into a glass of water, and by means 
of a microscope discovered animalculse a thousand mil- 
lions of times less than a grain of sand ! How incon- 
ceivably small, then, must the feet, the organs of sense, 
the muscles, veins, and nerves of such an animal be ! 
What must their eggs and their young be ! And how 


small must the members and vessels be, together with 
the juices which circulate in the veins of those young ! 
Here imagination itself is lost, and all our ideas con- 
founded ; and yet nothing is more certain than what we 
have already mentioned. 

What deserves our attention especially is, that the 
more the works of nature are magnified by our glasses, 
the more regular and beautiful they appear. But it is 
the reverse with the works of art ; for when these are 
examined with a microscope, we are astonished to find 
them rough, coarse, and imperfect, though they have been 
executed with the greatest care, by the most eminent 

Thus God has impressed an image of his own infinity 
on the smallest atom. The smallest body is a world in 
which millions of parts axe found united and arranged 
in the most perfect order. How astonishing is that wis- 
dom which can operate in the little as well as the great, 
with so much regularity and perfection ! How great 
must that power be which could bring out of nothing 
that infinite number of bodies of all kinds ! How rich 
must that divine goodness be which manifests itself in 
those minute bodies, seeing there is none of them which 
has not its perfection and use ! 

Considerations like these are very proper, to make us 
feel the limits of our own understanding. The least 
worm, the smallest insect, the least grain of dust may 
convince us that there are many thousands of things of 
which we are ignorant, and which we cannot explain. 
Try, man, to enumerate the parts of which the body 
of an animal is composed, which is a thousand million 
of times less than a grain of sand ! Endeavour to ascer- 
tain how minute one of those rays of light must be, 
several millions of which may pass through an opening 
not larger than the eye of a needle ! How speedily 
must thy ideas be confounded, and thou be obliged to 
acknowledge thy ignorance, and the limited state of thy 
understanding ! How then canst thou be proud of thy 
knowledge, and have the presumption to find fault with 
the ways of the Lord, and speak against the arrange- 
ments he has made in nature ? Canst thou imagine that 
thou canst even know the millionth part of the beings 


which exist ? It is therefore our duty, yea more, our 
glory, to acknowledge our own ignorance, and the infi- 
nite grandeur of God. 

Such is the use we should make of these meditations. 
Let us reflect on the infinite divisibility of bodies, only 
to feel more forcibly how great God is, and how little we 
are. This will give us room to admire the wisdom of 
the Creator ; for by means of the infinite smallness of 
the particles of matter, every void may be filled up with- 
out the least interruption of motion ; and the universe 
presents us with a spectacle continually varied. 



In general, we judge those animals only worth our 
notice which are distinguished from others by their bulk. 
The horse, the elephant, the bull, and such like creatures, 
appear in some sort to merit our attention; while we 
disdain to cast a look on the innumerable hosts of small 
animals which people the air, the vegetables, and the 
dust. How many insects do we trample on ! how many 
caterpillars do we destroy ! how many flies buzz about us 
without inspiring us with the least curiosity ! And we 
only think of means to destroy them when they are a 
little troublesome to us. Nothing can be more unreason- 
able than such inattention ; for it is certain that the 
power and wisdom of our Creator are not less manifested 
in the structure of a snail than in that of an elephant, a 
horse, or a lion. 

The bodies of the greater part of insects are composed 
of many rings, which close on each other, and are em- 
ployed in all the motions of the animal. The essential 
characteristic which distinguishes insects from all other 
animals is, that, properly speaking, they have no bones. 
Much wisdom is evident in this part of their formation. 
The motions which are adapted to all insects, the manner 
in which they are obliged to seek their nourishment, 
and especially the metamorphosis which they undergo, 
could not be performed with so much ease, if, instead of 


those moveable rings, which recede from and approach 
to each other at the will of the animal, their bodies 
were connected and strengthened by bones. 

It is observable in several insects that they have the 
power of contracting or enlarging their heads at pleasure ; 
that they can lengthen or shorten them, hide or cause 
them to appear, as their necessities may require. There 
are others, whose head always retains the same form. 
The mouths of insects are generally provided with a sort 
of teeth, or with a trunk. This disposition of the head 
is necessary, not only because of the aliments on which 
they feed, but also because of the persecutions to which 
they are exposed. 

Many kinds of insects are without sight ; but they 
are compensated for this by feeling, or some other sense. 
Insects have two sorts of eyes ; those which are smooth 
and bright are generally few in number ; but the eyes 
which resemble net-work or shagreen, the cornea of 
which is cut in angles, are extremely numerous. There 
are sometimes thousands of them. None of these are 
moveable; but their number and position supply this 
defect. The antennae, or horns, with which the greater 
part of insects are provided, are of great service to them 
in their manner of life. These horns being extended 
before the body in its march, and feeling out the way, not 
only inform the animal of the dangers which threaten it, 
but also enable it to discern the aliments which are 
best suited to its nature. 

The legs of insects are either scaly, or membraneous. 
The former move by means of several joints ; and the 
others, which are more soft, move in all directions. 
Often the same animal has both kinds of legs. There 
are insects which have several hundreds of feet; but 
these do not travel so fast as those which have only four. 
In respect to this part of the body, there is an infinite 
variety among insects. With what art must the legs of 
those insects be constructed, which fasten on smooth 
and polished surfaces ! How elastic must the legs of 
those be which leap ! How strong those which dig in 
the ground ! 

Two or four wings are placed in the middle of their 
bodies. Some of these are as transparent as the finest 


gauze ; others are full of mealy scales. Some are with- 
out covering ; others are hidden in cases or sheaths. At 
the sides or at the extremity of the body, there are 
little orifices in the form of eyelets, which are termed 
stigmata or prints ; these are the organs of respiration. 

The variety observable in the form and constitution 
of the limbs of insects is prodigious ; and the lives of 
many men would not suffice to describe the different 
figures of these little animals. Plow varied are the forms 
of those little insects which walk, fly, leap, and creep ! 
Nevertheless, however diversified their forms may be, we 
may observe in them the same perfect harmony and pro- 
portion. Would it not be the height of extra vagande or 
perverseness not to acknowledge, in all this, the infinite 
wisdom of the Creator ? A man is no further either 
virtuous or rational, than as he acknowledges and adores 
God in all things. Let us acquit ourselves henceforth in 
those duties ; as often as we see an insect, let us study as 
much as possible its wonderful construction, that we may 
have a more lively sense of the greatness of the Most 



Have some animals more perfect senses than man? 
We can only answer in the affirmative in some par- 
ticular cases ; for, in this respect also, we must say of 
man, that he is more highly favoured than all other 
animals. It is indeed asserted that spiders have a finer 
feeling; that the vulture, the bee, and the dog have a 
keener smell. We know that by means of this the 
hound follows the track of the game, and that other 
dogs are taught to find truffle under ground. The swine 
also, guided by his smell, digs with his muzzle for his 
food. Stags are supposed to have so quick a hearing 
that they can discern the sound of bells at the distance 
of several miles ; and that the mole hears better under 
the earth than man, who inhabits the surface, and lives 
in the open air. 


In regard to sight, the eagle among birds, and the 
lynx among quadrupeds, are said far to exceed man. 
These observations are certainly true ; but if we consider 
animals in general, and compare them with man, we are 
struck with the great prerogative given to him above all 
the brute creation. Man is naturally endowed with five 
senses ; and this advantage is not common to one half of 
the animals. The zoophytes, which form the connecting 
link between the animal and vegetable kingdoms, have 
only the sense of feeling. Many animals have only two 
senses ; some three ; and those which have five are con- 
sidered the most perfect class. But even the most per- 
fect animals have not senses more perfect than ours. 
There are certain senses among men which are astonish- 
ingly exquisite ; some Indians can judge by their smell 
how much alloy is mixed with the precious metals, as 
well as we can by the touchstone. I know a young 
gentleman who can distinguish every metal by the smell, 
and precious stones by the taste. The inhabitants of 
the Antilles can discern by their smell whether a French- 
man or a black has last passed along the road. 

The perfection of the senses in some savages supplies 
the lack of intellect. Many people have exercised and 
improved certain senses to an astonishing degree. If 
man, like the animals, had no helps but his senses to 
procure food, and to preserve himself from danger ; if 
reason were not a more sure and suitable guide to him, 
his senses, without doubt, would have acquired the 
highest degree of refinement by exercise. But, in reality, 
man does not require senses more exquisite than those 
which he possesses. Reason compensates him more than 
a hundred fold for the privileges which certain animals 
appear to have over him. Besides, we may confidently 
assert, that if our senses were more exquisite, many in- 
conveniences would result from it. Let us take, for 
instance, the sense of hearing ; were this in us as quick 
as the safety of some animals requires it should be in 
them, the most distant noise, and the confused din of a 
mixture of sounds, would continually interrupt our medi- 
tations and repose, and disturb our noblest occupations. 

Thanks to the infinite wisdom of the Creator, who has 
so measured the degrees of our sensation that they are 


sufficient to enable us fully to enjoy the blessings of 
nature, without disturbing the noble occupations of human 
reason. The limited state of our senses is a gain rather 
than a loss to us ; a perfection, rather than an imperfec- 
tion. Happy he, who allows his reason to govern his 
senses ; and who enjoys all the advantages which must 
result from a perfect harmony between them ! 



The thunder roars ! O mortal, who is it that causes 
this terrible noise ? Who is it that darts the lightning 
from the clouds ? Behold, sinner, it is the Lord of 
the universe ; it is the arm of the Most High, which 
hurls the thunderbolt. 

Nature reposes in his hand ; he preserves and blesses 
it : but he shall speak, and at his word the heavens and 
the earth shall be consumed by the flames ; the heavens 
and the earth shall be no more ! 

The thunder roars ; how dreadful is the stormy sky ! 
The lightning flashes ! the thunderbolt is shot ! O God, 
how great art thou, and how terrible thy power ! 

The Lord, from the height of his throne, frowns upon 
us ; and by the glare of the lightning we see the grave 
open under our feet. 

When the Lord sits upon the clouds, men and heroes 
tremble; when he sharpens the sword of his anger, the 
universe turns pale. 

God thunders, the sinner hears and shudders ; scarcely 
dare he lift his eyes towards him whose voice seems to 
threaten him with destruction. 

O Christian ! the majesty of thy God can bring no 
terror into thy soul ; even when he sits on the stormy 
clouds, and darts forth his lightnings. 

When the loud sound of the thunder astonishes the 
wicked, and fills him with terror, thy God watches over 
thee, and shields thee from the lightning. 

And though he should even take away thy life, all his 
judgments are right ; he is thy Master, and thou shouldst 


say unto him : Lord, my soul quietly submits ; whether 
I live or die, all my hope is in thee. 

The Sovereign of the thunder is the Friend of the 
Christian. What though he should take me away sud- 
denly from the land of the living ? I know that his 
thoughts towards me are thoughts of grace ; and he will 
cause me to draw salvation from the fountains of eternal 

He who, when the sky is serene, glorifies his God, 
may be calm and peaceable when the sinner flies at the 
sight of the dark clouds. 

But where can the sinner fly ? Can he escape from 
the sight of the supreme God ? In vain does he attempt 
to hide himself; the lightning pursues and smites him 
in his dark retreat ! 

Fly not, therefore, O sinner ! Renounce thy illusion ; 
thou canst not hide thyself from the face of thy Creator, 
who follows thee everywhere, and whose hand is every 
moment upon thee. 

When the thunder roars, thou tremLlest and smitest 
thy breast ; but when the tempest ceases, thou returnest 
anew to thy sinful pleasures. 

Sinner, if thou wouldst obtain mercy, thank the Lord 
for his long-suffering towards thee, and forget not the 
promises thou didst make in the time of thy distress ; 
think of this, and know that God will not be mocked. 

God is merciful ; he spares the rebellious ; but he 
will not spare for ever. Jehovah is just ; and the Judge 
Supreme shall cite the criminal to his bar. What is the 
thunder that roars over our heads, in comparison of that 
solemn day in which we shall hear the whizzing sound 
of the tempest ? The elements themselves shall be dis- 
solved by the same fire ; and the earth, and all it con- 
tains, be burnt up ! 


The hamster belongs to the mus genus, but bears the 
nearest resemblance to that of the myoxus or marmot. 
It agrees, however, with both in the construction of its 
habitation, its way of life, and its general properties. 


Iii Gmelin's New System of Nature, the hamsters make 
the third general division, galled Criceti ; and the animal 
which is the subject of this paper is styled the mus 
cricetus Germinicus, or German hamster. The males are 
about ten inches long, and the tail about three ; but the 
females are scarcely more than one half of this size. 
The former weigh from twelve to sixteen ounces each. 
Usually the head and back are of a reddish brown colour, 
the cheeks red, the sides paler, with three white spots ; 
the breast, upper part of the fore-legs, and belly are 
black. But the colour varies much ; sometimes they are 
found entirely white, or yellow ; and there is a species 
which is almost entirely black. But what are most worthy 
of our observation in this animal are its feet, its teeth, 
and its cheek-pouches. 

The hamster uses his feet to run, dig, and climb with. 
They are short and strong, having four toes, and a claw 
instead of a fifth toe, on the fore feet ; and five toes on 
each hind foot. Its teeth are sixteen in number ; it has 
two incisors in each jaw, and three grinders on each 
side. The grinders serve only to chew with ; but the 
fore-teeth or incisors serve, not only to shell the corn, 
but also for weapons for its defence, and to dig up the 
earth where it is too hard for its claws alone. 

The cheek-pouches are two skinny bags proceeding 
from the jaw, above the neck and shoulders, and after- 
wards sloping a little towards the spine. They lie in- 
closed between the muscles and the outward skin. On 
the outside these pouches are membraneous, smooth, and 
shining ; and in the inside there are a great many glands 
which secrete a fluid which serves to keep the parts 
flexible, and to resist any accidents which might be 
occasioned by the roughness of particular seeds. The 
hamster uses these pouches to collect and carry home the 
corn ; and they are so large as to contain an ounce and 
a half of corn at once, which, on his return to his den, 
the animal empties, by stroking and squeezing them 
with his fore-feet, beginning behind, and pressing for- 
wards towards the mouth. When a hamster is met with 
his cheek-pouches full of corn, he may be easily taken 
with the hand, without the risk of being bitten; for 
while his pouches are full he has not the free use of hia 


jaws ; but if he be allowed a little time, he soon empties 
his pouches, as related above, and, raising himself on his 
hind legs, stands boldly on his defence, or darts on his 

This animal lives always in the corn-fields. Here it 
forms itself a subterraneous burrow, divided into several 
apartments, with two holes leading from the surface; 
one is perpendicular, at which it goes in and comes out ; 
and the other, where it lodges its excrements, is oblique, 
that the wet may the more readily run off. One part of 
this subterraneous dwelling, divided into several apart- 
ments, is the storehouse, where it lays up its winter 
provisions of corn, beans, peas, vetches, linseed, &c, but 
each species of grain is kept by itself, in a separate cell. 
The chambers, where themselves and young lodge, are 
lined with straw or grass. The old ones dig their cham- 
bers several feet deep ; but those of the young scarcely 
ever exceed one foot in depth. In these holes the animal 
dwells alone, for it has a rooted enmity against all other 
creatures, and even against those of its own species, the 
females not excepted. When two hamsters encounter, 
one of them certainly falls ; and the weaker is devoured 
by the conqueror. 

The hamster lies by day in his den, still and quiet ; 
and in the dusk of the evening he comes out, and runs 
about till midnight ; he then retires again into his hole, 
and continues quiet till about an hour before day-break ; 
then he comes out once more, and runs about till sun- 

The hamster s manner of living is considerably diver- 
sified ; like various other animals, he becomes torpid in 
winter, and continues in that state the greater part of the* 
cold season. The male awakes about the middle of 
February, and the female in March. They do not leave 
their holes immediately on their recovery from this torpid 
state, but continue quiet till they have consumed the 
remains of their provisions, which amounts often to 
one third of the whole : then, the former opening his 
hole in March, the latter in April, they come out, return 
to their former manner of life, and go about seeking herbs. 

It cannot be denied, that the hamster is a very de- 
structive creature. Some years they are so numerous as 


to occasion a dearth by their immense consumption of 
corn. In one year, 11,000 skins ; in a second, 54,000; 
and in a third, 80,000, were brought to the town-house 
of Gotha, to receive a reward for their destruction. The 
hamster lives a considerable time, and multiplies pro- 
digiously. The female brings forth twice or thrice in the 
year, and her litter is never fewer than six ; but oftener 
from sixteen to eighteen. The growth of the young is 
very rapid; at fifteen days old they begin to dig the 
earth ; and in about three weeks they are capable of 
subsisting independently of the dam. 

The hamster is preyed on by several animals ; but the 
ferret seems ordained to be its most inveterate enemy. 
It is not so strong as the hamster, but it is much more 
active and cunning, and by these means it prevails over 
him. In summer and autumn he is the ferret's food. 
He pursues him even into his den, and kills him there. 
Having thus gained the victory, he makes it his own 
habitation. From this he goes out a hamster-hunting, 
and having found one, he seizes him so strongly that he 
drags him away and pieys upon him. 

Even this circumstance shows the wisdom of the 
Divine Providence. This animal is in hostility with all 
others, and yet the species is preserved ! Every crea- 
ture is an object of the care of Divine Providence, be- 
cause necessary to the perfection of the whole. The 
hamster may be objected to because destructive ; but were 
there not such creatures, God would not cause the earth 
to bring forth so plentifully. For these he makes a pro- 
vision in our fields, and they can consume no more than 
he has provided for them. At times they may become 
a scourge ; but when we balance our gains with our losses, 
we shall find, on the most scrupulous reckoning, that 
we have sustained no damage; so that, instead of blaming 
the divine government, we shall have much reason to 
adore it. After all, what are the few pounds of corn 
which the hamster carries away from our fields, in compa- 
rison of the thousands of bushels which we collect there ? 



It is astonishing that persons should be still found, 
over whose minds superstition has so much influence as 
to represent the most excellent and beneficent of Beings 
as a tyrant, and the gracious works of his hands as so 
many scourges to mankind. Yet examples of this kind 
have not been wanting in all ages, and even the present 
enlightened one is not a little disgraced by them. 

When mice, for instance, become very numerous in 
Norway, the inhabitants keep what they call a mouse- 
feast, which consists in putting on their best apparel, and 
instead of engaging in any kind of work, they lie down 
and sleep ! Again, when that species of insect called the 
grub- worm crawls about, the people spread their gar- 
ments in the way, and look upon it as a happy omen if 
this army of grubs, which defile every thing by a gluti- 
nous matter which transpires from their bodies, should 
crawl over them. But should this crawling legion go 
round them, and leave the clothes untouched, it is con- 
sidered as a very bad omen indeed. 

When the well-known insect, the sphynx atropos, 
called death's-head, from its having the exact resemblance 
of a human skull on its thorax, is seen flying about in 
great numbers in the evening, it is considered, in certain 
places, where dark superstition still reigns, as foreboding 
a great mortality both among men and cattle. 

What a series of misfortunes has been predicted from 
the gall-nut, which grows upon the leaves of the oak, 
in which is always found a creature in the form of a grub, 
a spider, or a fly ! Each of these insects has been made 
the prophet of some particular disaster. The grub pro- 
claims famine ; the spider, contagious disorders ; and the 
fly, war! Although these apparently different animals 
are but the same insect under different forms ! 

That ticking sound in walls, about beds, old furniture, 
&c, which, from its resemblance to the sound of a watch, 
is called the death-watch, is considered among the vul- 
gar a certain forerunner of death. 

When we examine this ominous business more closely, 


we find the noise to proceed from the female of that in 
sect called the ptinus pulsatar, which usually, in the 
night-time, gives seven, nine, or eleven distinct strokes 
with its head against the side of the hole in which it 
lodges, in order to attract the male ! 

In a fine summer morning, when walking out, we 
often perceive something resembling a black powder 
strewed upon the ground, on which, if we attempt to 
tread, it appears to dance and skip about in all directions. 
The vulgar in certain places consider this black dust as 
no less than the effect of witchcraft ; and whenever they 
perceive it, run with all speed out of the way, and take 
the most circuitous route, rather than attempt to pass 
through it, lest they should fall under the power of sor- 
cery. But what is it that thus terrifies and causes them 
to run ? Only that kind of insect, adhering sometimes 
to plants, commonly called the earth-flea. 

These examples, the number of which might be greatly 
multiplied, are considered by superstitious people as 
means intended for their conversion. But it is to be 
hoped that the above considerations will at least show 
them that they have been long and often mistaken in 
their interpretations of natural things, and have become 
their own tormentors by the false opinions which they 
have formed concerning them. The means of salvation, 
and the warnings to prepare for death, are sufficiently 
furnished by the unerring word of truth ; and the whole 
of the moral government of the world is continually 
regulated ^and ordered by a wise Providence that can 
never he mistaken, and in no case ever left to the for- 
tuitous circumstance of a fly depositing its egg upon an 
oak-leaf, or to the casual noise made by an insect in 
decayed wood. 

From such circumstances as these, we may see the 
necessity of enlarging our knowledge of nature, and of 
meditating more on the wisdom and goodness of the 
Creator. The more these are considered, the more we 
shall he convinced that God has made all things for the 
manifestation of his perfections, and the comfort and 
happiness of man ; and that all his work*, both in heaven 
and in earth, though in some cases they may at first 
view appear evil to us, are nevertheless perfect and 

f 2 


good in their respective kinds, beyond the possibility of 



Ye gloomy and majestic woods, where the fir-tree 
rears its stately head, where the tufted oaks spread their 
foliage; and ye rivers, which roll your silver streams 
among the grey mountains ; it is not you which I mean 
this day to admire ; hut the verdant enamel of the mea- 
dows shall he the subject of my meditations. 

What beauties present themselves to my view; and 
how diversified are they ! Thousands of vegetables, and 
millions of living creatures ! Some flutter from flower 
to flower, while others creep and crawl through the dark 
labyrinths of the tufted grass ; infinitely varied in their 
form and beauty, all these insects find here both food 
and happiness. All inhabit this earth, as we do ; and 
how despicable soever they may appear, each is perfect 
in its kind. 

How soft the murmur of the limpid stream which 
flows through the water-cress, the trefoil, and the clover, 
whose purple or blue flowers are agitated by the motion 
of its little waves. Both its banks are covered with 
thick grass interspersed with flowers, which, bending over 
the brink, trace their image in the water. 

I now stoop down, and look across that forest of 
waving herbs ; what a mild light the sun pours on the 
different shades of green ! Delicate plants interweave 
themselves with the grass, and thus mingle their tender 
foliage ; or else they rear their stately heads above those 
of their companions, and display the flowers which 
have no perfume ; while the humble violet grows upon 
the dry banks, and diffuses the sweetest exhalations 
around. Thus we see the useful and virtuous man in 
poverty, while the great and the rich, clothed in superb 
attire, consume in idleness the blessings of the earth. 

Winged insects pursue each other through the grass ; 
sometimes I lose sight of them in the verdure, and some- 


times I lose sight of them in the verdure, and sometimes 
I see a swarm dart up into the air, and sport in the rays 
of the sun. 

What is that variegated flower which waves near the 
brook ? How lively and beautiful are its colours ! I 
draw near and smile at my mistake ; a butterfly leaps oft!, 
and leaves the blade of grass on which it perched, and 
which bent under its weight. In another place I per- 
ceive an insect covered with a black cuirass, and adorned 
with brilliant wings ; it comes buzzing to perch on a blue- 
bell, probably, by the side of its companion. 

What other buzzing is that I hear ? Why do those 
flowers bend their heads so ? It is a swarm of young 
bees. They have lightly flown from their distant home, 
to disperse themselves over the gardens and meadows. 
Now they collect the sweet nectar of the flowers, which 
they will by and by convey to their cells. Among them 
an idle citizen is not to be found. They fly from flower 
to flower, seeking their booty, and hide their velvet heads 
in the calix of flowers, or pierce with labour through 
those which are not yet opened. 

There, on a high stalk of clover, a butterfly is perched ; 
it shakes its variegated wings, and adjusts those brilliant 
feathers which compose its crest, and seems proud of its 
charms. Beautiful butterfly ! make the flower bend 
which serves thee for a throne, and contemplate thy rich 
dress in the mirror of the waves. Thou wilt then re- 
semble a young beauty, admiring herself in the glass 
which reflects her charms. Her garments are less beau- 
tiful than thy wings, but she is as giddy and thoughtless 
as thou art. 

See this little worm running on the green turf; all the 
researches of luxury, all the art of man, cannot imitate 
the green sprinkled gold which covers its wings, where 
all the colours of the rainbow sport. 

" O how beautiful is nature ! Grass and flowers grow 
in abundance, the trees are covered with leaves ; the 
gentle breeze salutes us, the herds find pasture, the tender 
lambs bleat, skip about, and rejoice in their existence. 

" Thousands of green blades rise up in this meadow ; 
on each point hangs a drop of dew. How many prim- 
roses are here assembled ! How do their leaves tremble ! 

102 AUGUST X. 

What harmony in the note of the nightingale from yon- 
der hill ! Every thing expresses joy. Everything in- 
spires it. It reigns in the vallies and on the hills, on 
the trees and in the thickets ! O how beautiful is 
nature !" 

Yes, nature is beautiful, even in its smallest produc- 
tions. He who feels no delight at the sight of its charms, 
because he is a prey to tumultuous passions, pursues 
false blessings, and deprives himself of the purest plea- 
sures. Happy he, whose innocent life glides away in 
the contemplation of the beauties of nature. The whole 
creation smiles upon him. Joy accompanies him whither- 
soever he goes, and under whatever shade he rests. 
Pleasure springs up for him in every fountain, exhales 
from every flower, and resounds from every grove. 
Happy he, who is delighted with those innocent joys ! 
His mind is serene as the calm summer day ; his affec- 
tions are as gentle and pure as the perfume which the 
flowers diffuse around him. Happy he, who in the beau- 
ties of nature traces out the Creator, and consecrates 
himself wholly to his God ! 



It is distressing to see so many productions of nature, 
and often these the most beautiful, exposed to the ra- 
vages of animals. Every summer we may see much 
damage, especially in the vegetable kingdom, occasioned 
by the rapacity of different kinds of birds, insects, &c. 
How many trees are destroyed and fruits consumed by 
worms, may-bugs, and caterpillars ! Of how many 
things, necessary to our subsistence, are we deprived by 
the insatiate sparrow, and the no less voracious raven ! 
How afflicting to see a whole field destroyed by rats or 
locusts ! These and similar complaints are often made ; 
and people fancy that certain animals exist only to tor- 
ment mankind. There is some foundation for these 
complaints ; and experience proves that there are animals 
which are injurious to men as well as to plants. It is 


more easy to exterminate wolves, lions, and other fero- 
cious beasts, than to destroy insects, when their nume- 
rous troops cover a country. In Peru, a species of ant, 
called chako, is a terrible scourge to the inhabitants ; 
even their lives would be in danger if they did not use 
precautions to deliver themselves from these formidable 
insects. The devastation made on fruit-trees by cater- 
pillars, and in fields by mice, is well-known. 

But however real these inconveniences may be, they 
do not authorize such bitter complaints as those we 
make — complaints in which self-love has too great a part. 
We are pleased to see that the creatures which injure us 
destroy each other, and we think we may, without in- 
justice, take away the lives of such animals, whether for 
food, or for any other purpose ; but we cannot bear that 
they should take anything away from us : we expect 
that they should contribute to our subsistence, and yet 
we will allow them nothing ! In reality, have we any 
more right over the life of a gnat, than it has to a drop 
of our blood ? Besides, in complaining of the voracity 
of animals, we do not consider that this arrangement of 
nature is not so disadvantageous as it appears. To be 
convinced of this, let us consider the animal kingdom 
collectively. Such a species as appears noxious, is not- 
withstanding of real use, and it would be dangerous to 
endeavour to destroy it. Several years ago some inhabit- 
ants of the then English colonies in America endeavoured 
to extirpate the whole race of jays, because they ima- 
gined that these birds did much injury to the corn. But 
in proportion as the number of jays decreased, people 
were astonished at the enormous ravages which a pro- 
digious number of worms, caterpillars, and especially 
may-bugs, made in the fields. Speedily the persecution 
of the jays ceased ; and as they multiplied, they put an 
end to the plague, which was the consequence of their 

Some time ago, a project was formed in Sweden to 
destroy the crows ; but it was observed that these birds 
are not only fond of seeds and plants, but that they de- 
stroy those worms and caterpillars which consume the 
leaves and cut the roots of vegetables. 

In North America, the sparrow was persecuted with 

104 AUGUST xr. 

the utmost fury, and the consequence was, that the gnat 
multiplied so much in the marshy countries, that they 
were obliged to leave whole tracts uncultivated. 

Pheasant-hunting is so considerable in the isle of Pro- 
cida, that it caused the king of Naples to prohibit the 
use of cats to the inhabitants. At the end of a few 
years it was found that the rats and mice multiplied to 
such a degree as to occasion great mischief; so his Nea- 
politan Majesty was obliged to revoke the decree that 
prohibited the use of cats. 

And why should we be so selfish as to envy those 
creatures that small portion of our provisions which is 
necessary for their subsistence? Can we consume all 
the productions of nature ? Have we any deficiency of 
the things necessary for our comfort and support, on the 
account that the birds, mice, and insects assist us to 
consume the blessings which God has granted to us in 
such abundance, and of which a part would be spoiled 
if these creatures did not feed upon it? Instead of 
abandoning ourselves to unjust complaints, let us rather, 
in this, acknowledge the wisdom of our Creator. All 
is connected in the vast empire of nature ; no creature 
in it is useless ; none is formed without design ; although 
the use of several may be unknown to us. Their exist- 
ence itself is sufficient to convince us that they were 
created for the wisest purposes. Thus the sight of the 
apparent destructions and disorders in nature should 
make us look up to God, who has created nothing in 
vain, and who preserves nothing without reason ; and if 
he permit anything to be destroyed, it is not without a 
wise design. Were we deeply convinced of these truths, 
all the works of God would excite us to glorify and 
bless him. 



When we consider how dull and gloomy the gardens 
and fields would be, and how confused all objects must 
appear, were there only one colour, we must acknow- 
ledge the wisdom and goodness of God, who, by making 


such a variety of tints, has designed to multiply and 
diversify our pleasures on earth. Had he not designed 
to place us in an agreeable habitation, why should he 
have adorned all its parts with such diversified and 
beautiful paintings? The sky, and all those objects 
which are seen at a distance, are painted at full length. 
Splendour and magnificence are their characteristics. 
But lightness, delicacy, and the graces of miniature are 
found in all those objects which are designed to be seen 
near ; such as foliage, birds, flowers, insects, &c. 

But whence is this distinction of colours ? Each ray 
of light appears to be simple; but by refraction it is 
divided into several, and hence arise different hues. A 
glass filled with water, and exposed to the sun, reflects 
certain colours upon white paper. But angular glasses, 
called prisms, well cut and polished, reflect more vivid 
colours. We may imitate the finest rainbow, and bring 
it close to us, if we hold a prism opposite the sun ; or 
if, through a small hole in a window of a close-shut 
chamber, we receive a ray of light on a prism. Accord- 
ing as the refraction of the ray is more or less strong, 
the colours will be more or less bright. The most re- 
frangible ray is the violet, and consequently it is the 
weakest. After this comes the indigo, then the blue, 
next the green, then the yellow, next the orange, and 
lastly the red, which of all the rays of light has the 
least refrangibility. 

The nature of coloured bodies contributes to the 
variety of colours. The smallest particles of all bodies 
are transparent. Hence it is that they break, absorb, or 
reflect the rays, sometimes in one way, and sometimes 
in another, after the manner of prisms. Besides, what 
proves that colours are not inherent in bodies is, that 
the neck and feathers of a pigeon or peacock, and even 
changing stuffs, such as taffetas and other silk stuffs, 
change colour according to their different positions. 
This may enable us to understand whence the diversity 
of colours proceeds. The whole may be reduced to this : 
the surfaces of all bodies are composed of extremely 
thin laminae, which, according to their thickness, reflect 
certain coloured rays, while they admit or absorb others 
in their pores. Thus when a body, whose surface is 

f 3 

106 AT) GUST XII. 

smooth, reflects, and throws hack almost all the rays of 
light, it appears white ; and when, on the contrary, it 
absorbs them, it is black. 

Let us here admire the wisdom and goodness of God ; 
if the rays were not divisible, and if they were not 
differently coloured, all would be uniform, and we could 
distinguish objects only by reasoning, and by the cir- 
cumstances of time or place. But how tedious and per- 
plexing would it be to be obliged, on all occasions, to 
have recourse to reasoning, in order to distinguish one 
thing from another ! The whole of our life must then 
be employed, rather in studying than in acting ; and we 
should be for ever in a state of uncertainty. Were 
there only one colour on the earth, our eyes would soon 
be fatigued with it ; and this constant uniformity would 
cause us more disgust than pleasure. But the different 
colours which God has produced serve to diffuse more 
beauty over the earth, and to afford pleasures ever new 
to our eyes. This is a fresh proof that God is always 
employed, not only to provide for our necessities, but 
also for our gratification ; and that, in the formation of 
the world, he has studied, not only the essential per- 
fection of his works, but also to give them all those 
ornaments which might enhance their value. In the 
mixture and different shades of colours, utility and beauty 
are ever connected. As far as our sight can reach, we 
always discover new charms in the fields, valleys, and 
mountains. All minister to our pleasures, and all should 
excite our gratitude to God. 



If a man who had never heard of the industry of 
beavers, and their manner of building their houses, were 
shown some of their edifices, he would doubtless suppose 
them to be the work of several eminent architects. 
Everything is wonderful in the labours of those amphi- 
bious animals. The regularity of the plan, the size, 
solidity, and admirable contrivance of their buildings, 


must fill every attentive observer with astonishment. 
The beavers choose a place to build on where they can 
have plenty of food, and a river out of which they may 
form a lake to bathe in. They begin, first, by con- 
structing a dike or bank, which keeps the water level 
with the first floor of the building. This dike or bank 
is sometimes a prodigious work, from six to twelve feet 
thick at the foundation : it is made sloping, and dimi- 
nishes insensibly, till it is but about two feet in breadth 
at the top. The materials of this dike are wood and 
clay. The beavers cut pieces of wood as thick as a 
man's arm with astonishing facility. They fix one end 
of these in the earth very near to each other, and inter- 
weave them with other pieces, smaller and more pliant. 
But as the water may run through, and leave their 
watering-place dry, they have recourse to clay, which 
they well know where to find, and with which they fill 
up all interstices, both within and without ; so that the 
water cannot possibly pass through. In proportion as 
the water rises, they continue to raise their dike. 

Having finished their dike, they begin to work at 
their houses, which are round or oval buildings, divided 
into three stories, raised one above another. One of 
them is below the foundation of the dike, and generally 
full of water ; the two others are above. They fix these 
little buildings in a very solid manner on the brink of 
their pond, and always by stories; that, if the water 
should rise, they may be able to lodge higher up. If 
they find a little island near their pond, they build their 
houses on it, which is then more solid; and they are 
less incommoded with water, in which they cannot re- 
main long at a time. If they do not find this conve- 
nience, with the assistance of their teeth they bury stakes 
in the earth, in order to support their building against 
the winds and the water. At the bottom they make 
two doors, to go out into the water ; one leads to their 
building-place, the other to the passage which leads to 
the place where they deposit everything that might 
defile their upper apartments. They have a third door 
at the top, for fear of being taken when the ice blocks 
up the lower doors. Sometimes they build their houses 
entirely on dry ground, and make ditches from five to 


August xn. 

six feet deep, to go down into the water. They use the 
same materials, and the same industry for their buildings 
as for their dikes ; the walls are perpendicular, and are 
about two feet in thickness. They cut off with their 
teeth the ends of the sticks which project from the wall ; 
then, mixing clay with dry grass, they make a compo- 
sition, with which they plaster the inside and outside of 
their building : in this work their tail serves instead of 
a trowel. The inside of the house is arched, and the 
size of it is regulated by the number of the inhabitants. 
Twelve feet long, by eight or ten broad, is a space suffi- 
cient for eight or ten beavers. If the number be greater, 
the building is enlarged in proportion. 

The instruments which the beavers make use of are 
four strong and sharp teeth ; the two fore feet, the toes 
of which are separated ; the two hind feet, the toes of 
which are connected by membranes ; and their tail, 
which is covered with scales, and resembles a large 
oblong trowel. With these few simple tools they outdo 
our masons and carpenters, with all their apparatus of 
trowels, squares, axes, saws, &c. With their teeth they 
cut the wood with whieh they construct their buildings, 
and that which they provide for their food. They use 
their fore feet to dig the ground, and to soften and knead 
the clay. Their tail serves in place of a hod, to carry 
the mortar or clay, and afterwards as a trowel, to lay on 
and smooth the plaster. 

The works of beavers have the nearest resemblance 
to those of men ; and if we were to judge by the first 
impression they make on us, we should imagine them to 
be the produce of reason and reflection. But if we 
examine them more closely, we shall find that in all 
their architecture these animals act, not by reflection, 
but according to innate instinct. If they were directed 
by reflection, they would build differently now from 
what they did formerly, and would continually improve. 
But we see that they continually follow the method of 
their ancestors, and never go out of the circle which 
nature has prescribed to them. Thus, the beavers of 
this present time build exactly in the same way that 
those did who lived before the deluge. But this should 
not prevent our admiration ; as of all the animals which 


live in a social state, they come the nearest to the human 
race. We have only to see them, to be convinced that 
beasts are not simple machines, and that a spiritual 
principle directs all their motions and actions. But what 
an infinite difference has God put between the faculties 
of animals ! How vastly superior is the instinct of the 
beaver to that of the sheep ! And what divine wisdom 
is manifested in the gradations by which brutes insensibly 
approach to the human species ! May we profit by the 
discoveries we make of the different faculties of animals, 
and use them to improve ourselves more in the know- 
ledge and love of the Creator of all beings ! 



Our aliments are composed of two parts ; that which 
is properly nutritive, and should continue in the body, 
and that which is not nutritive, and should be expelled 
from it. In respect to both, it is necessary that the food 
we eat should be well ground, and its parts separated. 
This is begun in the mouth by mastication or chewing. 
The dentes incisores, or fore-teeth, cut and separate the 
pieces ; the dentes canini, or side-teeth, tear it ; and the 
dentes molares, or double teeth, grind it small. The 
tongue and lips contribute also to this, by keeping the 
food under the teeth as long as it is necessary. Certain 
glands being compressed in the act of chewing; throw 
out the saliva which moistens the fdod, penetrates and 
renders it easy to separate its parts, and contributes to 
the digestion. Hence the great necessity of properly 
chewing the food before it is taken into the stomach. 

The aliments, thus ground small, moistened, mixed, 
and partly elaborated, are taken into the pharynx, and 
pass through a canal, where there are glands which con- 
tinually furnish a certain liquor, which lubricates it, and 
renders the passage of the food more easy. If this 
happen to be too dry, the sensation of thirst tells us that 
we should drink. The food follows thus the course of 


the oesophagus, till it descends into the stomach. This 
is provided with a glutinous liquor, and another juice 
still more active, both of which bear the name of the 
gastric juice. These serve to ferment and concoct the 
aliments. When the stomach has been too long empty, 
this gastric juice irritates its nervous coats, and produces 
that sensation which we term hunger. The stomach is 
always in motion, by the contraction of its fibres up and 
down, so that its cavity is strengthened, and the two 
extremities drawn towards the centre so that the whole 
is equally contracted : the aliments then, finding the 
passage through the pylorus easy, descend through it 
into the intestines. It might be supposed, from the 
contraction of the stomach mentioned above, that they 
would be as liable to return through the oesophagus as 
to descend through the pylorus ; but this is prevented 
by a valve which closes the passage of the former. 

The intestinal canal is properly a continuation of the 
stomach. In this canal there is a constant motion, called 
the peristaltic motion, by which the whole alimentary 
mass is agitated above, below, and on all sides. The 
aliments, by the preceding operations, are reduced to a 
kind of soft paste, which continues long enough in the 
intestines, and advances slowly by means of their vermi- 
cular motion. This paste is afterwards mixed with the 
bile, which is separated by the liver, and serves to secrete 
the chyle and dissolve the aliments. In all the intes- 
tines the orifices of certain extremely fine vessels are 
discovered, which are termed the lacteals. The whitest 
and purest part of the alimentary mass passes through 
these vessels, which pour it into one much larger; by 
which it ascends above the breast, and is thrown into 
the veins. It then loses its white colour, and by its 
mixture with the blood and other juices becomes red. 
The nutritious juice, prepared and perfected thus in the 
veins and glands, is conducted by a multitude of canals 
into the different parts, where it is necessary for the 
nutrition and preservation of the body. As to the gross 
and innutritious part, which is found in the large intes- 
tines, it passes from the caecum into the rectum, and 
accumulates in this latter intestine, till at a proper time 
it is expelled by the action of the organs. 


Behold what a variety of operations are requisite to 
accomplish one of the necessities of the body ! How 
many parts and organs must concur and labour, in order 
to provide the necessary nourishment and growth for the 
whole ! It is by the intimate relation and connexion 
which subsists between the external parts of our bodies, 
that the digestion of the food and secretion of so many 
different juices must be effected. What is most admi- 
rable is, that all the parts of our bodies which are thus 
exercised to effect its nutrition serve also for other pur- 
poses. The tongue, for instance, contributes to masti- 
cation ; but it is also the organ of speech and taste. The 
organs by which the body throws off its acrid and super- 
fluous humours serve also for the propagation of the 
human species. In a word, there is not one member of 
our bodies which has only one office. And this is 
certainly a striking proof of the infinite wisdom of the 
Creator. Let us think of these things at our meals, 
and endeavour to make them, in some sort, the subject 
of our conversation. This will afford us a rich fund of 
useful matter ; and by acting thus, we shall follow the 
sage advice of the apostle, " Whether ye eat or drink, or 
whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 



The works of nature, so superior to those of art, arc 
particularly so in this, that their admirable variety always 
furnishes new subjects of astonishment and pleasure. We 
look once or twice at a work of art, and supposing we do 
return to it oftener, we at last grow tired, and either 
look no more at it, or see it with a certain degree of in- 
difference. But when we attentively examine and re- 
flect on the works of nature, our mind is never fatigued ; 
we ever find new charms in them, and could continue 
the contemplation for ever. 

If we consider nature in its most majestic and sub- 
lime point of view, with what astonishment are we 
struck in viewing the immensity of the heavens ; the in- 



numerable multitude of the stars, and the immense ex- 
tent of the sea! Compared with these, all the works of 
art, however great and excellent they may be, are insig- 
nificant, and of no value. All that God has made, and 
all he does, is stamped with a grandeur which surpasses 
all our ideas and conceptions. To give us an idea of his 
infinity, he bad only to form the sky. This shows the 
magnificence and grandeur of the Creator better than all 
the earth contains. Is there anything more proper to 
inspire us with profound veneration for God, than to 
contemplate him in these immense works. With what 
ecstasy and religious fear should we feel ourselves pene- 
trated when we view these great phenomena of nature, 
which no creature could produce, such as earthquakes, 
volcanoes, storms, and tempests ! These grand scenes 
of nature are sometimes exhibited before us ; and there 
is none of them which ought not to make us feel the ex- 
cellence and majesty of the Creator of the heavens and 
the earth. 

Nature presents itself also in a pleasing point of view ; 
we see vallies adorned with verdure, and beautiful 
flowers ; fields which promise plentiful crops ; mountains 
covered with trees, vines, and all sorts of simples and 
medicinal plants. In all these smiling scenes, God shows 
himself the Friend and Benefactor of men : he opens 
his liberal hand, and satisfies everything with his bounty. 
This is the season when everything furnishes the most 
convincing proofs of his goodness : at present everything 
conjoins to delight and flatter our senses, to please and 
to nourish us. 

But the time will soon come in which nature will 
show itself under a sad and gloomy form. It will speedily 
lose a part of its beauty and variety; and resemble a 
desert, which promises neither riches nor pleasure. Each 
day brings us nearer to this gloomy season ; and the in- 
sensible decrease in the length of the days begins already 
to inform us that we must soon confine ourselves to our 
apartments. But, even under this form, nature has her 
attractions ; for winter also concurs to the perfection of 
the world ; and without it we should be deprived of the 
pleasures which spring and summer afford. 

Let us apply these reflections to our life. It also is 


subject to variations, and is continually assuming new 
forms. To the most beautiful and flattering scenes, the 
most melancholy and distressing often succeed. In 
prosperity, let us prepare for adversity; and glorify 
our God in every situation in life. 



Moderate rain always contributes to the growth and 
fruitfulness of plants ; and consequently is a great bless- 
ing to the earth. But in many respects it may become 
injurious to vegetables first, when it falls too vehemently ; 
and secondly, when it continues too long. When it is 
too violent, it buries the small delicate plants in the 
earth ; and when too long, it prevents their growth. A 
superabundant moisture deprives them of the necessary 
heat ; the circulation of the sap is interrupted ; the se- 
cretions are not properly performed ; and the plants 
droop, and are in danger of perishing. 

But this is not the only way in which the rain may 
become injurious ; although it is the most common. 
Sometimes it makes terrible havoc. When many clouds, 
driven by impetuous winds, meet with towers, moun- 
tains, and other high places in their way, they burst, and 
suddenly pour out the water with which they were laden. 
This must occasion great devastation ; for as water is not 
very compressible, it must, when pressed down, run sud- 
denly out, and fall with the greatest violence from moun- 
tains and other heights. Therefore, it is not astonishing 
if it drag along great stones, beat down trees, and over- 
throw buildings. Two causes concur to render these 
effects more violent : on one hand, the great quantity of 
water which is precipitated ; and on the other, its velocity, 
augmented by the height from which it falls ; — the action 
of a moving body being always in proportion to the 
quantity of matter in the body, and the degree of velocity 
impressed on it. 

Waterspouts are still more formidable : their figure is 
that of an inverted cone : the base terminates in some 


cloud ; their point is turned towards the earth. These 
waterspouts attract and draw up everything they meet 
with in their way, which is afterwards dashed down in 
the fall of the water. If the point of this pyramid reach 
the sea, the water boils, froths, and ascends with a ter- 
rible noise. But if it fall on ships or buildings, it shat- 
ters and throws down the latter, and shakes the former 
so violently that they often founder. According to all 
appearance, this meteor is formed by the action of winds 
which blow in contrary directions, and which, meeting 
with many clouds in their passage, drive them with vio- 
lence against each other. When these opposite winds 
strike a cloud sideways, they necessarily give it a cir- 
cular motion, and cause it to turn with rapidity ; and 
in this circular motion they take the form of a whirl- 
wind ; and their weight being suddenly increased by 
the force of pressure, they fall with impetuosity, and in 
their fall assume the figure of a column, sometimes 
conic, sometimes cylindrical, which turns round its centre 
with great rapidity. Their violence is in proportion to 
the quantity of water which falls at once, and to the 
velocity of the fall. 

Cataracts and waterspouts are always dangerous. For- 
tunately the latter seldom takes place on land ; but they 
are frequent at sea. As to cataracts, the mountainous 
countries are more exposed to them than those which 
are flat and level; and they happen so seldom, that 
many years escape before an acre of land is destroyed 
by them. However this may be, it is very unjust, 
when these disasters happen, to murmur against God, and 
abandon ourselves to complaining and distrust. Many 
people are grievously afflicted by these events; they 
view them on the darkest side, and their imagination 
magnifies and multiplies the object. When a little cor- 
ner of the earth, which is but a point in comparison of 
the globe, has been ravaged by a waterspout or any 
other accident, we complain, as if all nature were in 
danger of perishing ; and, absorbed with these local and 
transitory disasters, we forget the innumerable blessings 
which God diffuses over the earth, and which vastly 
exceed these judgments, which very rarely occur. If 
we were just, we should be more affected with the 


order and universal happiness which result from the 
present arrangement of nature, than with those partial 
disorders which spring out of the ordinary course of 
things, and which should be considered only as excep- 
tions to a general rule. Would it not be equally unjust 
and ungrateful to pay attention only to the earthquakes, 
tempests, and inundations, which happen upon an average 
but once in many years, while we forget so many daily 
blessings, and innumerable benefits, resulting from the 
constant and regular return of the seasons ? Do we not 
sin against God when we calculate the damage which 
some transient accidents occasion, and take no account 
of the vast advantage which we daily enjoy through 
the present arrangement of nature ? Let us never more 
render ourselves capable of such base and criminal in- 
gratitude. Let us rather consider the works of God 
with humility and admiration, and endeavour to form 
just and suitable ideas of them. For, doubtless, there 
are infinite wisdom, order, and goodness even in those 
things where we can scarcely see any traces of them; 
but which will unfold themselves to us more and more, 
if we endeavour to study nature with an attentive and 
feligious mind. 



The most remarkable instinct with which God has 
endued the minds of brutes, is, doubtless, that which they 
manifest in the preservation of their young. Few ani- 
mals abandon their eggs or young to chance. Their 
self-love, on the contrary, extends to their posterity ; and 
that in the most solicitous manner, and in a way the 
most suitable to their different species and modes of life. 
Some of those little creatures which come out of the 
eggs of fish and insects have no need of being hatched 
by the parent, as the heat of the summer is sufficient to 
animate and strengthen them, and they are capable of 
providing for themselves from the moment of their birth, 
supposing they are in a suitable place, and have food 


within their reach. The greater part of insects do not 
live long enough to see their posterity. Fish and am- 
phibious animals cannot distinguish their own young 
from others of the same kind, Nevertheless, nature in- 
spires them with a knowledge of the best means to 
provide for the principal wants of new generations. 
Fish come in shoals to deposit their eggs near the 
coasts ; where the water, being shallow, is easily warmed 
by the heat of the sun ; where they may be more easily 
hatched, and afterwards find requisite food. 

Amphibious animals come out of the water, and lay 
their eggs in the sand, that they may be hatched by 
the heat of the sun; as they know that their young 
will readily find their true element, and the place where 
they are destined to live and seek their food. Gnats, 
and other insects which are born in the water, but live 
in the air or on the earth, never fail to lay their eggs 
where the life of their young should commence. Insects 
which fly upon the earth, and which in general require 
no food for themselves, still take care to deposit their 
eggs on plants, fruit, flesh, and other substances which 
are proper to nourish their young. There are some 
which pursue other animals, that they may lay their eggs 
in their skin, hair, mouth, and entrails. Some animals 
deposit their eggs in nests, or cells, which they have 
prepared, and into which they have carried beforehand 
suitable provision for the nourishment of their young. 

Other animals, which cannot provide for themselves 
as soon as they are born, are intrusted to the care of 
their parents. How great is the solicitude of birds, even 
before they lay their eggs ! Every species has its peculiar 
mode of constructing its nest. With what patience and 
constancy they sit on their eggs for several weeks, scarcely 
taking time to eat their food ! What care do they take 
to warm their young when they are hatched, and to 
provide suitable food for them ! What courage do they 
show in defending them, and securing them at the hazard 
of their own life ! Is it not also a very singular in- 
stinct in quadrupeds, to cut with their teeth the um- 
bilical cord of their young, and to do it also with the 
necessary precautions that they may not lose too much 
blood ! With what tenderness and attention do they 


suckle them, give them warning of danger, and pro- 
tect them from it ! 

In general, the instinct of animals for the preservation 
of their young is stronger than the desire of satisfying 
their own wants. They suffer hunger and thirst, they 
refuse sleep and all conveniences, and even hazard their 
own lives, rather than neglect their little ones. In this 
instinct which God has given to animals, we may see 
such wisdom as we can never sufficiently admire ; for 
the preservation of every species depends on the care 
which the parents take in hatching and providing for 
their young. We need not be surprised that viviparous 
animals should feel affection for their young ; they are 
their own flesh and blood : but that those which are 
oviparous should feel such solicitude for their eggs, is 
absolutely inexplicable. The eggs have a widely differ- 
ent figure from the parents ; and in no respect resemble 
an animal. Besides, the eggs are not visible when the 
birds begin to build their nests, and when the insects 
seek places where the new generation may find subsist- 

Adorable Creator of all that exists ! who would not 
in this admire thy wisdom ? Who would not acknow- 
ledge that goodness with which thou watchest over the 
preservation and propagation of the animal kingdom, 
that they may minister to our wants, and to our plea- 
sure ? Open our eyes, that we may acknowledge more 
and more the wisdom which shines through all thy 
works ! 



Every phenomenon, however natural and useful it 
may be, is often a cause of terror and dismay to ignorant 
and superstitious men. We see a proof of this in the 
rains which superstition considers as supernatural, and 
which terrify so many people. 

Who does not tremble when he hears of a shower of 
blood? Sometimes, and particularly in summer, there 


falls a reddish rain, to which this name has been given; 
or rather, it is supposed that such a rain has fallen, 
when, after a shower, we find drops tinged with a red 
colour in the fields. Many believe that such a rain has 
fallen from the sky, and that it is properly blood. When 
this is considered, it is no wonder that such rain should 
be attributed to supernatural causes. There is nothing 
in it, however, but what is very natural. For the atmo- 
sphere being laden with different substances, and with 
a multitude of foreign matter, we need not be surprised 
that the rain sometimes partakes of this mixture, and 
that its natural colour and qualities are changed. It 
may very easily happen, that coloured particles may fall 
with the rain. The wind may raise up, and disperse far 
and wide, the coloured stamina of different flowers, and 
even the red excrement of certain butterflies. There are 
also little red insects on the face of the water, which cre- 
dulous people may take for blood. Sometimes, also, a 
certain viscous humour, produced by fatty, reddish parti- 
cles, which float in the air, falls with the rain, as hap- 
pened in Westphalia and other places, in the year 1764. 
But so far from their being anything marvellous in this, 
we may rather, on the contrary, be astonished that these 
phenomena do not happen more frequently. 

It is the same with those showers of sulphur which 
are said to fall often. This rain is not properly sulphur, 
although it is possible that the atmosphere being filled 
with sulphureous particles, some may be detached with 
the drops of rain. But it has beenjjroved by a number 
of experiments, that these showers aW no other than the 
flowers or coloured seeds of some plants, or fine sand, 
or yellowish dust, which the wind raises in some coun- 
tries, and mingles with the rain. The supposed showers 
of wheat are produced in the same way. When heavy 
rain falls in those parts where much celandine grows, it 
lays bare the roots, which are very slender ; the little 
bulbs which adhere to them are separated and scattered 
about, and these are taken for wheat fallen from above ; 
and superstitious people believe this to be a presage of 
dearth and famine. 

But whence come all those caterpillars with which the 
gardens and fields are sometimes strewed when a shower 


of rain has fallen ? Nothing can he more natural than 
this. As the atmosphere contains a multitude of bodies 
of every kind, it is very likely that both insects and 
their eggs may be found there. The latter only require 
a place to be hatched in, consequently when they are 
brought down with the rain they stick to the leaves, and 
then come to life. That this is possible the following 
fact proves, related by writers of the utmost probity. 
The rains which fall in Philadelphia during the month 
of August bring with them insects which, when they 
stick to the human skin, and are not immediately taken 
off, bite and produce great itching. And when these 
little animals happen to fall upon woollen cloth, they 
stick in it and multiply like moths. 

We are under very great obligations to those natu- 
ralists who by their researches and experiments have 
exposed and rooted up so many superstitious opinions 
and prejudices. It must, however, be confessed that the 
common people are full of them still ; and this proves 
that men have in general a greater propensity to error 
than truth, and that they are not convinced as they 
should be of the wisdom and goodness of the divine 
government. Let us not dishonour both our God and 
our reason by these or similar prejudices. Let the con- 
viction, that everything is well ordered in nature, and 
that God proposes infinitely wise ends, be a source of 
joy and consolation to us. Let us leave superstitious 
ideas to pagans and infidels ; but let us, who have the 
happiness of knowing the true God, glorify him by our 
faith, honour him^fy confiding in his goodness, and 
labour more and more to diffuse reason, wisdom, and 
piety among men. 



We may observe certain motions in plants which make 
k doubtful whether they have sensibility or not. There 
are vegetables which draw back and contract their leaves 
when touched. We see some which open and shut their 


flowers at certain fixed hours of the day ; so that these 
plants show the hour of the day with great exactness. 
Others assume a very singular form during the night, 
as they then fold up their leaves ; and these motions take 
place whether they are in the open air or in close apart- 
ments. Those which always live under the water, raise 
their leaves above it in the time of fecundation. The 
motions of a marshy plant, which was discovered some 
time ago in the province of Carolina, are still more sin- 
gular. Its round leaves are garnished above and on the 
edges with a multitude of notches, which are extremely 
irritable. When an insect chances to creep on the upper 
surface of the leaf it folds up, contracts, and shuts up 
the insect till it dies. Then the leaf opens of itself. 
We may daily observe certain regular movements in some 
garden plants. Tulips expand when the weather is fair 
but they shut up in the time of rain, and after sunset. 
Vegetables with husks, such as peas and beans, open 
their shells when dry, and curl up like shavings of wood. 
Wild oats, when put on a table, will move of themselves, 
especially if they have been warmed in the hand. And 
do we not observe that the heliotrope or sun-flower, and 
various other plants, always turn themselves towards the 

These are incontestable facts, of the reality of which 
any person may be readily satisfied. From these some 
conclude that we cannot deny sensibility to plants ; and 
it is true that the above cited facts give some probability 
to this opinion. But, on the other hand, we do not dis- 
cover any other mark of sensibili^P^in plants. All in 
them appears to be absolutely mechanical. 

We plant a shrub, and destroy it, without observing 
any analogy between it and an animal. We see a plant 
bud, blossom, bear seed, as we see the hand of a watch 
run insensibly round all the points of the dial. The 
most exact anatomy of a plant can show us no organ 
which has the least relation to the organs of animal sen- 
sibility. When we oppose these observations to those 
whence some have inferred the sensibility of plants, we 
remain in uncertainty, and know not how to explain the 
phenomena related above. Perhaps all we observe re- 
lative to tbe motions of plants proceeds only from the 


structure of different fibres, which sometimes contract 
and sometimes expand. Perhaps the subtile exhalations 
of our bodies, cause sensitive plants to contract when we 
touch them. But it is probable, also, that as there are 
innumerable gradations in nature, there are certain plants 
which possess the lowest degree of sensibility, and which 
serve for the connecting link between the animal and 
vegetable kingdoms, as there is, in fact, but a short pas- 
sage between the sensitive plant and the muscle. Thus 
sensibility may be given to plants, at least to those which 
approach nearest to the animal kingdom. 

We see, then, that our knowledge of this subject is 
very imperfect, and is almost reduced to mere conjecture. 
We can neither attribute sensibility to plants, nor deny 
it, with certainty. On this subject we must rest con- 
tented with conjecture, and not seek to pass the bounds 
presented to our knowledge. Let us render to the Cre- 
ator the glory due to his name ; and let us be persuaded 
that whatever may become of the question, and what- 
ever the principle of the before-mentioned phenomena 
may be, the arrangements which he has made in these, 
and all other respects, have been dictated by unlimited 
wisdom and goodness. We may very well dispense with 
the want of more extensive knowledge on this part of 
the vegetable kingdom ; and though this point should 
ever rest problematical and obscure to us, yet what we 
know on the subject is sufficient to satisfy a reasonable 
curiosity, and excite us to glorify God. Let us, there- 
fore, endeavour to make a proper use of the knowledge 
we have, without losing ourselves in speculations more 
curious than useful ; and without aiming at that measure 
of knowledge which is reserved for those who shall suc- 
ceed us, or perhaps for eternity. 



At the season in which nature presents to our view 
only pleasing and delightful scenes, well calculated to 
inspire joy and happiness, there are still some persons 



found who spend their time in complaints and murmur- 
ing. The summer would, without doubt, be delightful, 
say they, were it not for those storms which disturb it, 
and stifle every sentiment of joy in our souls. The fear 
of storms and thunder are principally founded on the 
opinion that tbey are the effects of God's wrath, and 
ministers of vengeance. For if, on the contrary, we con- 
sidered how much storms contribute to purify the air 
from a multitude of noxious vapours, and to fertilize the 
earth, if we would take proper precautions against the 
effects of lightning, storms would cease to appear formid- 
able, and sensible people would consider them as bless- 
ings, more proper to inspire us with gratitude than 

But it may be said, thunder has often made great 
havock. How often has lightning struck both men and 
beasts, and consumed whole villages and towns ! This 
is all true ; but in this, as in many other cases, a terrified 
imagination greatly magnifies both the evil and the 
danger. To show how little likelihood there is of being 
killed by lightning, let it be observed, that among 750,000 
persons who died in London, in the space of thirty years, 
two only were killed by lightning. Let us observe, also, 
that during the greatest claps of thunder many persons 
prolong their fear without the least reason. He who 
has time to be terrified, and to fear the natural effects of 
lightning, is already entirely out of the reach of danger. 
It is only the lightning that can be fatal to us. "When 
we have seen it without being hurt, and the thunder 
does not immediately accompany it, it is doubly foolish 
to wax pale and tremble at the sound of the clap, or shut 
our ears for fear of a sound which cannot possibly be 
dangerous. What should shorten our fears, or entirely 
prevent them, is the consideration, that after the light- 
ning we may wait for the thunder in the utmost safety, 
as it is certain it will do us no more hurt than the distant 
report of a cannon. Indeed the thunder tells us we 
have escaped the danger of the lightning, and informs 
us how distant it is ; for the greater the interval is between 
the flash of lightning and the peal of thunder, the greater 
the distance from the seat of the storm. 

The surest means of guarding against the fear of 


thunder, and other terrible phenomena of nature, is to 
endeavour to hare a good conscience. The righteous 
man, calm and composed, fears not the judgments of 
heaven. He knows that at the command of God all 
nature is armed against sinners. But when even the 
Supreme Judge terrifies and smites the obstinate, the 
good man knows that he is ever under the protection 
of the Almighty. " He hears the thunder roar, but he 
is not terrified. His Creator, the God whom he loves, 
is the Ruler of the lightning. He knows when only to 
terrify, and when to strike. He sports with storms and 
tempests, and makes use of them to convince the infidel 
of his existence, who dared to doubt it ; and to bring 
terror into the hearts of the wicked. The friends of God 
need not tremble ; it is their privilege and glory to be 
able to trust in him, even when his thunder roars. The 
time shall come when, elevated above the regions of 
storm, they shall walk upon the clouds by the splendour 
of his lightnings." Then shall they see that thunder 
itself is a blessing from the Lord, that he makes use 
of it to purify the atmosphere ; and they shall praise 
this Supreme Being, who, by an apparatus the most for- 
midable, condescends to provide for the necessities of 
the earth. With one hand he holds the thunder, and 
with the other he waters our fields ; and thus at once 
shows himself both our Father and our Judge. 



When we walked a few weeks ago in our gardens, we 
were surrounded by beautiful and pleasing objects, and 
everything inspired serene delight. But at present the 
prospect becomes less agreeable daily, or at least more 
uniform. The greater part of the flowers whieh adorned 
the gardens have disappeared, and we see only their 
weak remains, which just serve to recall to our minds the 
charming scene which we enjoyed a few months ago. 
These revolutions in nature are very instructive. There 
is a time of life in which we have all the charms of 

g 2 


spring ; we are then admired and loved, and the most 
excellent fruit is expected from us. But how often is 
this expectation disappointed ! The blossoms fall off 
before they had been well expanded ; sickness robs us 
of our charms, and a premature death blasts all our 

We observe the spring flowers, which last till summer, 
wither then in a few hours. A striking emblem of 
death ! Scarcely a day passes in which we do not hear 
of persons snatched away by sudden death when they 
least expected it ; but God has an infinity of means to 
put an end to our lives. It is true that habit renders us 
almost indifferent about the deaths of so many of our 
fellow-citizens, who are suddenly cut down; and it is 
not less true, that the days of man are as the grass : he 
flourisheth as a flower of the field ; but the wind bloweth 
upon him, and he is gone, and the place that knew him 
knows him no more. 

We have now reached that season in which we en- 
deavour to screen ourselves from the scorching heat of 
the sun, and seek the cool shade of the grove. But are 
not these retreats well calculated to make us reflect on 
the silence and darkness of the tomb ? There we shall 
find rest after having borne all the fatigue and heat of 
the day of life. 

The mower prepares to cut down his corn. The 
scythe brings down the stalks on the right hand and 
left, and leaves the fields empty and desert behind it. 
This should remind us of our own lot. All flesh is as 
grass, and the glory and duration of human life as the 
flower of the field. Man flourishes a while, and is then 
cut down, when the Lord of the harvest has given his 

Even the bees teach this truth. When we reflect on 
the activity and industry with which they collect and 
prepare their honey, we should learn to lay up trea- 
sures of wisdom and goodness betimes, which may be 
a comfort to us in our old age, and at the hour of our 

In a little time, the husbandmen will unite to collect 
the fruits of the earth, and deposit them in their gra- 
naries. These days of harvest are the most solemn and 


the most important of all the days in the year. But, O 
my God ! how solemn will that great day be when the 
Creator himself shall collect the harvest ! When all the 
dead shall rise out of their graves ; when the Supreme 
Judge shall say to the angels, "Gather the tares into 
bundles to be burnt; but gather the wheat into my 
garner." "With what joy may the righteous meditate on 
this day of harvest ! Here, he goeth forth weeping, 
bearing precious seed ; but he shall doubtless come again 
with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. 

These are not the only emblems of death which na- 
ture furnishes, but they are the most striking. Every 
person who considers them should look upon them as 
pictures of the shortness and frailty of human life ; and 
we need not be afraid of having that comfort which is 
so natural to us in summer lessened by such reflections 
as these. Meditations on death are the best means of 
farther embellishing this happy season, and of render- 
ing it still more agreeable. When we contemplate death 
in its true light, far from considering it as the enemy of 
our pleasure, we shall acknowledge that the idea of death 
ennobles and increases our happiness. Would we run 
into imprudent excesses in those summer days, if the 
thought of death were present to our minds ? Would 
we abuse the gifts which God grants, if we remembered 
that the hour must come in which we shall give an 
account of our stewardship? Would the blessings of 
this life corrupt or captivate our hearts, if we often 
considered that the fashion of this world passeth away ? 
Would the burden which we have to carry during the 
heat of the day, and the sufferings to which we are ex- 
posed, excite murmurs, if we considered that the even- 
ing would come and bring us refreshment and rest ? 
Would we imagine that our chief good consisted in the 
enjoyment of this world and its pleasures, if we ac 
customed ourselves to think that a better world, and 
more dignified pleasures, might one day be our happy 



The sun is, without doubt, the principal cause of the 
heat of our globe ; and the warmth of a particular place 
is owing to its relative position to the sun. When he 
is on the southern side of the earth, the inhabitants of 
the north have not such warm days as when he ap- 
proaches the north pole. The same takes place in the 
southern parts of the earth, when the sun is turned 
towards the north. In those countries where the sun is 
nearly vertical, the cold is never so great as to freeze the 
rivers and lakes; on the contrary, the heat is always 
great in those regions. It becomes excessive when the 
sun remains a long time above the horizon, so that 
his rays fall for a considerable time upon the same place. 
Hence it is, that towards the poles, where the days are 
very long, the heat is sometimes intense, in certain coun- 
tries. When all this is considered, we must conclude 
that the sun, and its relative position towards the earth, 
is a chief cause of the. heat in open air. 

But this is not the sole cause ; if it were, all winters 
would be equally cold, and the temperature must be 
always exactly the same in countries situated under the 
same climate. But neither of these is the case : it is 
observed, that on the highest mountains, when even there 
are spacious plains, and on these plains other hills and 
plains, it is still much colder than in low lands and deep 
vallies. Even under the line, if, from a plain where 
the heat is excessive, we ascend a mountain 12,000 feet 
high, we shall feel the most piercing cold, and be in the 
region of snow and ice. 

It has also been further observed, that in winter, when 
the cold has been rigorous during the day, it has sensibly 
abated towards midnight; the weather became tem- 
perate, although the rays of the sun did not then in- 
fluence the atmosphere. It is therefore incontestable, 
that there is a warmth in the air, which is not imme- 
diately produced by the* sun. 


There axe substances which warm and take fire by per- 
cussion and by friction. The axletrees of wheels take 
fire when carriages run too fast, and hare not been pro- 
perly greased. Other substances warm and take fire 
when they are mixed together. If a certain quantity of 
water be poured on a bundle of hay or straw, a con- 
siderable degree of warmth will take place. Substances 
which corrupt or ferment, acquire a degree of heat which 
may be perceived by the thermometer, or by the touch. 
Even in the air, the motion of certain matters may occa- 
sion mixtures, dissolutions, and combinations, which may 
produce a great degree of heat. Thus we may account 
for the production of heat in the open air. The sun in 
the first place is the principal cause of it : to the heat 
which proceeds from this planet, that of several living 
creatures is united ; that of fire, excited by wood, coal, 
and other combustible matters; that which comes out 
of the bowels of the earth, the depth of the sea, and 
from warm mineral springs. The heat is often very much 
increased by the fermentations which different bodies 
undergo ; whether on the surface of the earth, or in the 
upper regions of the atmosphere, where they produce 
warm exhalations. When, therefore, all kinds, of parti- 
cles which float in the lower atmosphere, and which are 
proper to receive and preserve heat, are not cooled, or 
dispersed by the winds and rain, the heat increases by 
degrees, and becomes more and more intense. On the 
contrary, it is diminished when any of the above causes 
cease to act. 

All these plans are worthy of the wisdom and good- 
ness of God. They are useful to all parts of the habit- 
able globe ; and the Creator has assigned to all climates 
that measure of happiness of which they were suscep- 
tible. But we who live under a temperate climate prove 
very sensibly the paternal cares of the Most High. Heat 
and cold are distributed to us in the wisest proportion ; 
and we should be the most ungrateful of men, did we 
not acknowledge and celebrate the bounty of God 
towards us. 



One of the many things worthy of our admiration in 
the vegetable kingdom is the great variety observable in 
plants. They are diversified in respect to their parts, 
their generation, their productions, and their virtues. 

The manner in which fructification is performed in 
many plants is very obscure. Little is known concern- 
ing its process in mosses, mushrooms, and ferns. There 
are plants which exhibit singular monstrosities. We see 
flowers which have no tops ; there are some, out of the 
middle of which other flowers spring. Certain plants, 
which are termed sleepy plants, assume a different situa- 
tion at the approach of night, to what they had in the 
course of the day. Some turn towards the sun ; others 
draw back and contract when they are touched. There 
are flowers which open and shut at certain regular hours, 
or in particular states of the weather. Some grow up, 
flourish, bear fruit, and lose their leaves sooner than 
others. Plants differ also with respect to the place of 
their growth, some choosing one place in preference to 
another. All plants are originally wild ; i. e., they grow 
of themselves without culture. 

The Creator has assigned to plants different climates, 
suited to their nature and uses, and where they may 
best come to their perfection. But those which are exo- 
tics may be naturalized among us, and succeed very well, 
provided care be taken to procure them a degree of 
warmth suitable to $ieir nature. 

What delights our eyes most in plants is, their great 
variety of forms. Let the most perfect species be com- 
pared with those which are least so, or let the different 
species of the same genus be compared, and we cannot 
but admire the astonishing variety of models according 
to which nature works in the vegetable kingdom. We 
pass from the truffle to the sensitive plant; from the 
mushroom to the carnation ; from the excrescence on 
the cherry-tree to the lilac; from the nostoch to the 


rose-bush; from the moss on the cherry-tree to the 
mould on the chesnut ; from the morel mushroom to the 
oak ; from the moss to the lime-tree ; from the miseltoe 
to the orange-tree ; and from the ivy to the fir. 

If we consider the numerous families of mushrooms, 
or the different kinds of plants which are termed im- 
perfect, we cannot but admire the fecundity of nature 
in the production of those vegetables which are so dif- 
ferent in their form from others, that they can scarcely 
be ranked in the number of plants. If we ascend a few 
steps on the scale of plants, we behold with pleasure the 
series of plants with stalks, from the grass which grows 
between stones, to the inestimable plant to which we 
owe the principal part of our nourishment. We, in the 
next place, observe the vast variety of creepers, from the 
tender bind-weed to the vine. 

What we can never sufficiently admire in the works 
of nature is, that the most perfect harmony prevails 
among this great variety. All plants, from the hyssop 
which grows on the wall to the cedar of Lebanon, have 
the same essential parts. A little herb is as complete a 
plant as the most perfect rose ; and the rose is not less 
perfect than the most stately oak. All appertain to the 
same monarchy ; all follow the same general laws of 
growth, proportion, and multiplication ; and, never- 
theless, each species is distinct from the other. Among 
so many thousands of plants, there is not one but has 
its distinct characteristic properties, particular manner 
of receiving nourishment, of growing, and perpetuating 
itself. What inexhaustible riches do we discover in 
their forms, colours, and proportions ! 

They are highly privileged, who are capable of observ- 
ing these varieties, and of relishing the different beauties 
of the vegetable kingdom. What pleasure may the 
human mind find in this study ! After having entered 
fully into the spirit of this delightful employment, we 
can renounce all others with ease, to make this our only 
study. The soul, enraptured with these delightful medi- 
tations, shall ascend to thee, God, who art the Father 
of nature ! Thy power has produced all these plants ; 
thy wisdom has properly arranged them ; thy goodness 
manifests their endless variety, and affords us continual 

g 3 


subjects of praise and gratitude to our Creator. And 
can we omit a duty to which all nature invites us, with- 
out having the most insensible and ungrateful hearts ? 
And can we indulge such a spirit, and hope for the love 
and approbation of our Maker ? 



We may consider the animal kingdom as a well-go- 
verned state, where a proper number of inhabitants are 
found, and each in the place assigned to him : all have 
the necessary faculties for their different avocations ; they 
are induced to fulfil their appointments by rewards and 
punishments, and are sufficiently protected against their 
adversaries. In this republic of animals, those which 
are small and feeble are in subjection to the strong and 
powerful ; but all are in subjection to man, as the repre- 
sentative of the Deity. The inhabitants of the animal 
kingdom find everywhere a sufficiency of employment 
and food. They are dispersed everywhere, and their na- 
ture, their different constitutions, and their organs are 
suited to the different residences assigned them. 

Their employments are various ; but all tend, either to 
the increase of their species, to maintain a constant equi- 
librium between the animal and vegetable kingdoms ; or 
to provide for their own subsistence, and to defend them- 
selves against their enemies. We may observe, that all 
the parts of their bodies are adapted to their functions, 
and to the nature of their minds. The Creator has 
given them certain instincts, which compensate them for 
that reason of which they are deprived — instincts diver- 
sified in a thousand ways, and appropriated to their dif- 
ferent wants : instincts for motion ; instincts for food, to 
enable them to discern it infallibly, to find it out, to seize 
it, to prepare it, &c. ; instincts for the constructing of 
nests and other necessary places of abode, to hoard 
provisions, and to go through their different changes; 
instincts for the propagation of their species, to defend 
and preserve themselves from their enemies, &c. 


In each class of animals, there are some that live on 
prey, and on the individuals which superabound in 
other classes. Each species has its peculiar enemies: 
hence it is, that none can multiply too fast, and the 
proper balance is kept up. Sickly animals, or those 
which have some defect, are ordinarily the first which 
become a prey to the others : corrupt fruits and carcases 
are devoured ; and the earth is not incommoded, nor the 
air infected by them ; and thus nature pieserves its 
lustre, its bloom, and its purity. 

Beasts of prey have a make conformable to their man- 
ner of life; they are either endued with particular 
strength, or great agility, industry, or cunning. But in 
order to prevent them from destroying whole species, 
they are confined within certain limits ; they do not 
multiply as fast as other animals, and often they destroy 
one another, or their young become a prey to other 
creatures. Some sleep during the winter, digest their 
food slowly, and feed on the fruits of the earth, when 
they can get no other food. Weak animals are provided 
with means of defence adapted to the places of their 
abode, and the dangers to which they are exposed ; their 
natural weapons, their agility, their dwellings, their 
scales, their cunning, preserve them from destruction : 
and by these means, the proper balance is always kept 
up in the number of every species in the brute crea- 

Animals are in some measure obliged to perform the 
functions assigned them, because on this their happiness 
depends. They find their well-being in following the 
laws which nature has prescribed, as, on the contrary, 
they cannot transgress them without necessarily bringing 
on themselves all sorts of evils. The mammalia, or ani- 
mals which give milk, are the largest, and consequently 
the fewest in number; but they fulfil very important 
offices. The functions of birds are also very much 
varied; they eat up superfluous grain, devour dead 
carcases, and lessen the number of every species of 

Most amphibious animals prey on others. The smallest 
animals are the most numerous ; and they are more vo- 


racious in proportion to their size. They manure many 
vegetables, and serve many other useful purposes. 

All the admirable things which we see in the animal 
kingdom demonstrate the existence of a Being who 
possesses all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 
Who, besides himself, could have peopled this vast globe 
with so many animals of different kinds ; and could 
provide them all that was necessary for their life and 
their well-being ? Who but God could have nourished 
that infinite number of creatures according to their dif- 
ferent tastes; could have provided them with cover- 
ings, places of abode, weapons for necessary defence ; and 
given them all so much address and sagacity, so many 
instincts and capacities ? Who but he could have pre- 
served the balance between so many different species 
and classes of animals ? Who but the All- wise could 
have assigned to every living creature its proper element ; 
and form that innumerable multitude of limbs, joints, 
bones, muscles, and nerves, joined and articulated with so 
much art, harmony, and perfection, that each animal 
may perform its different motions in a manner the 
most convenient, and best adapted to its way of life, 
and to the different situations in which it might be 

Yes, Lord God Almighty, it is thou alone who couldst 
do all these things ! And to thee all the glory, praise, 
and thanksgiving belong. It is to thee alone that we 
owe homage and gratitude for all that thy hands have 
formed. The contemplation of the animal kingdom, and 
the innumerable conveniences which accrue to us from 
it, should excite us to pay thee that tribute of love and 
gratitude which to thee alone is due. 



All the known world is divided into four principal 
parts, Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. 

Europe is the smallest. Its length, from east to west, 
is reckoned above 3,600 miles, and its breadth, from 


north to south, about 2,700. Its inhabitants possess 
many countries in different parts of the world, and have 
nearly one half of the earth under their subjection. The 
Europeans alone travel into the four different parts of 
the globe, and bring thence the productions of all coun- 
tries. They are the most enlightened of all people, and 
those who cultivate the arts and sciences with the greatest 

Europe is the only part of the earth where the land 
is everywhere cultivated, and the whole surface filled 
with cities, towns, and villages, whose inhabitants keep 
up a constant intercourse with each other, and profess 
nearly the same religion. The other three parts are 
inhabited by a number of different people, who have no 
connexion with and little knowledge of each other ; 
and who differ much in their customs, manner of life, 
and in their religion. 

Asia is inferior in size only to America. Its supposed 
extent, from the straits of Gallipoli in the west to the 
eastern shore of Tartary, is 4,800 miles ; and its breadth, 
from the southern extremity of Malacca to the Frozen 
Ocean, is nearly 4,500. As the countries which are 
found in the interior part of this continent enjoy not the 
cooling air of the sea, as they are not watered by many 
rivers, as they have vast plains and barren mountains, 
the heats and colds are excessive, the land is not very 
fertile, and consequently not well cultivated. Even at 
the present time, those inland countries are only inha- 
bited by people who in the morning pull down their 
cities and villages, carry them some miles with them, 
and build them up again at night in less than an hour. 

It seems as if nature had rendered this unsettled and 
wandering life necessary, and intended that the establish- 
ments, laws, and government of this people should have 
less consistence, and be more subject to change, than 
those of others. The other inhabitants of Asia have 
often suffered much from the restless and unquiet cha- 
racter of this vagabond people. The northern part, 
which is full of lakes, marshes, and forests, has never 
been regularly inhabited ; but the southern, eastern, and 
western parts are the most beautiful countries in the 
world ; especially those which are situated towards the 


south. These are extraordinarily fertile, and produce in 
ahundance everything necessary for the support and 
comfort of life. 

America is the largest division of the known world; 
it is bounded, as far as yet has been discovered, on all 
sides by the ocean ; and extends from the 80th degree 
of north latitude to the 56th south; and from the 35th 
to the 136th west longitude from Greenwich. It is 
nearly 10,000 miles in length, from N. to S. Its average 
breadth, from E. to W., is between 1400 and 1500 
miles ; but at its broadest part it measures 3,690 miles. 
It is said to contain upwards of 14,000,000 square miles. 
America was discovered by Christopher Columbus, in 
1491 ; but it got its name from Americ Yespuce, a Flo- 
rentine, who discovered the continent south of the line 
in 1497- It is divided into two continents, separated 
by the isthmus of Darien, which, in the narrowest part, 
is scarcely sixty miles across. The cold which prevails 
in the northern part, the few useful productions that are 
found in it, its distance from other inhabited countries, 
are the causes why it is so little known ; but we have 
room to believe that the natural inhabitants of the 
country are not civilized. Forests and marshes still 
cover the land ; and hitherto the Europeans have only 
cultivated the eastern parts. In South America there 
were formerly great empires ; the remainder was inha- 
bited by savages. Serpents, reptiles, and insects are 
much larger here than in Europe. In general, we may 
say that America is the most extensive and the worst 
inhabited part of the world. 

Africa extends nearly from 37° south latitude to 37° 
north, and is about 4,300 miles in length; and its 
greatest breadth, from Cape Verde to Cape Guardafui, 
is 3,500. Its form has been compared to a pyramid, the 
Cape of Good Hope being supposed the summit, and 
the northern coast along the Mediterranean its base. 
As it is under the torrid zone, there are immense sandy 
deserts, mountains of a prodigious height, forests almost 
burned up, and monsters of every kind. The excessive 
heat enervates and enfeebles the faculties of the soul, 
and very few well-governed states are to be found in it. 
Though Africa is the most contiguous part of the world 


to Europe, yet the interior of it is, as yet, but little 

If we calculate the number of leagues which these 
four parts of the world occupy, their size will appear 
very considerable ; yet all the countries actually known 
do not make one fourth of the globe ! And what is our 
earth in comparison of those immense bodies which God 
has placed in the firmament ! It is lost in that innu- 
merable multitude of the celestial spheres, as a grain of 
sand is lost in a mountain. But to us, in whose eyes a 
cubit is a considerable length, the terrestrial globe is 
always a vast theatre of the wonders of God. And as 
we know but little of the worlds which are above us, 
let us endeavour to know that well which we inhabit, 
and use that knowledge to the glory of our Creator. 



' Every moment we feel the utility of that light which 
is diffused over our globe, but we cannot, with certainty, 
determine what its nature is. All that the greatest phi- 
losophers have said on the subject is but conjecture. Is 
it enough to say, that light is a fluid which encompasses 
the earth, and requires only to be agitated by the sun, 
or some other inflamed body, in order to render it per- 
ceptible ? Or is it fire itself, which, by the emanation 
of its infinitely fine particles, gently strikes our eyes at 
a certain distance? The first hypothesis has been 
adopted by the most eminent philosophers. It is certain, 
at least, that there is a great difference between fire and 
light. The latter is incomparably more subtile than the 
former. It penetrates glass and other transparent bodies 
in a moment, whereas fire does it very slowly. The 
pores of glass are consequently large enough to give a 
free passage to the light, while the fire meets with more 
resistance, because it is less subtile. Fire moves more 
slowly than light. Let burning coals be brought into a 
room, the heat diffuses itself very slowly, and the air 
becomes warm by degrees ; but the moment a candle is 


brought into an apartment, the whole is suddenly illu- 
minated, and wherever the rays can reach, the parts 
become visible. From these facts, and some others, it is 
concluded, that fire and light are different substances ; 
although we generally see them both together, and find 
that one may produce the other. But the consequence 
drawn from this is possibly false. 

The properties and effects of light are not less incom- 
prehensible than its nature. The rapidity of its motion 
is prodigious. If its velocity were no greater than that 
of sound, it would take up seventeen years to come from 
the sun to the earth. But from very accurate observa- 
tions of some eminent philosophers, it appears that light 
passes from the sun to us in eight minutes and twelve 
seconds. In the short space of one second, a particle of 
light traverses an extent of one hundred and seventy 
thousand miles ! Now as sound is propagated only at 
the rate of 1142 feet in a second, a particle of light must 
be 786,000 times more subtile than a particle of air; 
although the latter cannot be perceived by the naked 
eye, nor by the assistance of glasses with the greatest 
magnifying powers. Further, the observations of astro- 
nomers inform us, that the rays of a fixed star, in order 
to reach us, must traverse a space which a cannon-ball, 
shot with the greatest force, could not pass over in less 
than 104,000 millions of years! The expansion or 
extent of the propagation of light is not less inconceiv- 
able. The space in which it -is diffused is not less than 
the universe itself, the immensity of which exceeds the 
limits of the human understanding. It is by this almost 
unlimited diffusion of light, that the very remotest of 
the heavenly bodies in the solar system becomes discern- 
ible, either by the naked eye or by telescopes. And 
had we instruments that could carry our sight as far as 
the light is extended, we could not discover those bodies 
which are placed at the very extremity of the universe. 

It is certain that our understanding is too limited to 
comprehend all the designs of God, relative to the nature 
and properties of light. But it is not less true, that we 
might explain many things, did we consider them with 
sufficient attention. Why, for instance, does the light 
propagate itself with such an inconceivable velocity, 


but that an endless multitude of objects may be per- 
ceived at the same time by an infinity of persons ? If, 
then, the rays of light move so swiftly, is it not that we 
may instantly discover the most distant objects ? Were 
the propagation of the rays of light slower, great incon- 
veniences would result to the inhabitants of the earth. 
The strength and splendour of the light would be greatly 
weakened ; the rays would be less penetrating, and the 
darkness would be very slowly dissipated. Why are 
the particles of light so infinitely subtile, but that they 
may paint even the minutest objects in the eye ? Why 
have not these particles more density, but that they may 
not dazzle us by their splendour, or injure us by their 
heat? Why are the rays refracted in so many ways, 
but that we may the better distinguish the objects which 
present themselves to the eyes ? 

Thus the Creator ever keeps in view the gratification 
and benefit of his creatures. What gratitude do we owe 
to this Father of lights for arrangements so wise and 
beneficent! Had he not created the light, how could 
we have enjoyed life ? Of how many sources of pleasure 
should we have been deprived! And within what 
narrow limits would our occupations and knowledge 
have been confined ! 



Birds are undoubtedly to be ranked among the most 
beautiful creatures on the earth. The form of their 
bodies, even in their smallest parts, is so regular and 
perfect as sufficiently to prove the wisdom of the Creator. 
Like the mammalia, or animals which give milk, they 
have real bones ; but they are differently clothed. The 
bodies are covered with feathers fastened in the skin, 
laid one over another in a regular order, and furnished 
with a soft and warm down. The large feathers are 
covered above and below with smaller ones. Each 
feather consists of a quill and beards. The quill is 
hollow below, and by it the feather receives its nourish- 


ment : towards the top it is full of a sort of marrow. 
The beards are a range of little thin flat flakes, closely 
connected at the two edges. Instead of having fore 
legs like a quadruped, birds have two wings ; these are 
composed of eleven bones, in the muscles of which the 
feathers intended for flight are set. These feathers, 
turned back, form a species of vault, fortified by two 
rows of smaller feathers, which cover the root of the 
larger ones. The mechanism of the wings is truly ad- 
mirable. They do not strike behind, like the fins of fish, 
but they act perpendicularly against the air which is 
under them, which greatly assists the flight of birds. 

The wings are hollowed a little that they may take in 
more air, and the feathers are so closely united that the 
air cannot pass through them. The body is suspended 
between the two Mings in a perfect equilibrium, and in 
the most convenient maimer for them to execute their 
different motions. The heads of birds are made small, 
that the weight may not retard the vibrations of the 
wings, and to be more proper to divide the air, and make 
their way through that element. The principal use of 
the tail is not to supply the place of a rudder, but to 
preserve the balance in flying, and to assist the bird to 
ascend or descend in the air. The legs, never more than 
two, are so placed, as to preserve the body in the centre 
of gravity. In some birds, they are placed so much 
behind, that they can only be used in swimming. The 
limbs are composed of the thigh, the legs properly 
so called, and the claws. The thighs are covered with 
muscles, and generally with feathers. As to the legs, 
they are lean, and ordinarily naked. Most birds have 
four toes, three of which are before, and one behind. 
At the end of the toes they have nails, which they use 
either to assist them to perch, seize their prey, or take 
up their food. Some birds feed on animals, and others 
live on plants, particularly their fruits and seeds. Those 
which live on seeds steep and soften them in their crop, 
whence there can pass but a small portion of food at a 
time into the stomach, because in this sort of bird it is 
very small. Their stomach is composed of very strong 
muscles, by means of which the food is the better broken 
and ground ; and ordinarily such birds swallow sand and 


little rough pebbles, to assist digestion. Birds of prey- 
have a weaker stomach, and they have recourse to small 
stones to assist its operations. 

Not to see evidences of the wisdom and providence of 
God, in the formation of birds, would argue a total 
want of reason. The bodies of birds are formed through- 
out with so much art and harmony, that they are per- 
fectly conformed to their manner of life, and to their 
different necessities. The stork and the heron, who 
must seek their food principally in marshes, have very 
long bills and long legs, that they may run in the water 
without being wet, and reach far in to seize their prey. 
The hawk and eagle, which live on rapine, are provided 
with large wings, strong claws, and large beaks, which 
are necessary to preserve them from starving. The 
swallow's bill is small and pointed ; their mouth is large, 
and cloven up to the eyes ; on the one hand, that they 
may not miss the insects which they meet with in flying, 
and on the other, that they may pierce through them 
more easily. The swan has a particular reservoir in its 
windpipe, whence it draws in air enough to breathe, 
while seeking its food, with its head and neck plunged 
under water. Several little birds, which fly and hop 
among the thickets, have a little membrane over their 
eyes, to defend them from injury. In a word, the for- 
mation of each bird is admirably appropriated to its 
manner of life, and to its wants. Each species is perfect 
in its kind ; and none of their members is superfluous, 
deformed, or useless. 

The wisdom observable here will appear still more 
admirable, when we consider that all the parts of birds 
are not only appropriated to their different necessities, 
but they also concur to give them the most beautiful 
shape. What an astonishing diversity of construction, 
proportion, and colour do we behold, from the raven to 
the swallow, from the partridge to the vulture, from 
the wren to the ostrich, from the owl to the peacock, 
and from the crow to the nightingale ! All these birds 
are beautiful and regular in their kind, but each has its 
own peculiar beauty. 

Thus a sight of the birds may become useful and 
edifying to us, if we accustom ourselves to contemplate 


the Creator in them. Happy would it be for us if we 
made this use of the creatures ; what a pleasing employ- 
ment, what pure and heavenly pleasures, might such con- 
templations afford us ! 



We have only to cast our eyes on the sky, to be struck 
with admiration at this magnificent work of the Creator. 
With what splendour does this sapphire vault shine, this 
rich canopy spread over our dwelling, especially during the 
night, when thousands of lustres are suspended from it, 
and the moon diffuses her mild light far and wide ! Who 
can lift up his eyes and contemplate this ravishing sight 
without astonishment, without the sweetest emotion ! 
But we discover still many more wonders when the eye 
of the mind traverses this immense space, and makes it 
the subject of its meditations. Where are the bounds 
of this space ? Where its beginning, where its end ? In- 
numerable spheres of a prodigious size are raised one 
beyond the other, and the human mind that Mould 
attempt to follow them in their rapid career must soon 
feel its own weakness. A pure ethereal air, infinitely 
subtile, is supposed to fill the whole space, and to sup- 
port these prodigious masses, and mark out the orbits 
in which they continually revolve. There are neither 
props nor pillars to support this immense arch, and the 
enormous load which it carries ; it is neither suspended 
nor attached to anything ; nevertheless, it has supported 
itself thousands of years, and will continue to do so for 

How great is the number, how vast the bulk of those 
celestial bodies with which the ether is filled ! The 
magnitude of the sun, and that of several planets which 
move round it, is vastly superior to that of our earth. 
And who knows but among the stars there may be found 
many equal, if not superior in size, to the sun himself! 
Their prodigious distance causes them to appear as bril- 
liant points in the sky, but in reality they are so many 


suns, whose immense circumference cannot be measured. 
The eye, unassisted with glasses, discovers an innume- 
rable multitude of celestial bodies, when, during the 
night, they are permitted to sparkle in the absence of 
the sun. But how many more do we discover by the 
help of a telescope ! And is it not probable that there 
are multitudes of others which we cannot discover, be- 
cause they are out of the reach of our best instruments ? 
We may venture to assert that thousands of suns and 
worlds roll in the ether ; and that the whole of the solar 
system is but the smallest part of that great host which 
is ranged above us in such beautiful order. 

All this should fill us with admiration ; but the sky 
presents to an attentive mind greater wonders still. 
.These bodies are in a continual motion, which is subject 
to invariable laws. They all turn round their own axes, 
and the greater part revolve in immense circles round 
other globes. A particular path is assigned to each, 
from which it never departs. They run their career with 
u rapidity that surpasses human imagination. They 
have a power by which they fly from the centre, and 
nevertheless an equal force retains them in their orbits. 
Though so many thousands of bodies roll in this place, 
yet they never strike against nor incommode each other. 
The stars which appear to us dispersed with so much 
confusion in the firmament, are, on the contrary, placed 
there in the best order, and in the most perfect harmony. 
For thousands of years they have risen and set regularly 
in the same manner ; and astronomers can foretel with 
the utmost certainty their position and their course. 
What new subjects of admiration should we have, had 
we a more extensive knowledge of these innumerable 
globes ! But we know little besides the system to which 
our earth belongs, and of which the sun is, so to speak, 
the monarch. 

Who can lift up his eyes and contemplate the heavens 
without being struck with astonishment at the idea of 
that Supreme Being who has formed this magnificent 
work ! Let this admiration lead us to humble ourselves 
in the dust before him, and to adore and glorify his name. 
And while we acknowledge how weak and imperfect 
our homage is, let us look forward to that glorious change 


which shall one day take place in us, when a nearer 
contemplation of those wonders which we now see ob- 
scurely and at a distance, will make our hearts overflow 
with gratitude and joy ! 



This field was lately exposed to great dangers. Im- 
petuous winds whistled round it, and the storm often 
threatened to beat down and destroy all the ears. 
Nevertheless, Providence has preserved it to the present 
day. Thus the tempests of affliction often threaten to 
overwhelm us ; yet these storms are necessary, they often 
become means of our purification, and of rooting up the 
tares of sin. Often, in the midst of trouble and sorrow, 
our knowledge, faith, and humility are increased and 
strengthened. It is true that, like the weaker stalks of 
corn, we often bend, and are bowed down to the earth ; 
but the compassionate hand of our Father supports and 
raises us up again. 

As the harvest approaches, the corn ripens very fast. 
The dew, the heat of the sun, and the showers unite to 
bring it to its maturity. May we daily ripen for heaven ! 
And may all the events of our lives lead to this salutary 
end! Whatever our situation maybe here below; whether 
the sun of prosperity shine upon us, or our sky be 
clouded with adversity ; whether our days be gloomy or 
serene, may all concur to perfect our piety, and fit us 
more and more for eternity ! 

It is worthy of observation, that those stalks which 
carry the largest and finest ears, differ much in height 
from those that are poor and light. The latter stand 
erect, and overlook the whole field, while the others bend 
under their own weight. These are emblems of two 
sorts of professing Christians. We see some who are 
vain and presumptuous, who, having but a small share of 
religion themselves, act insolently towards others, and 
regard the truly pious with contempt. A foolish pre- 
sumption blinds them, and causes them to disdain the 


proper means of salvation. Those, on the contrary, who 
are rich in grace, and abundant in good works, bend 
modestly down, like the well-filled ears. 

All the corn which is to be cut down is not equal in 
goodness. How many tares and»weeds are mixed with 
the corn ! Such is the state of many Christians in this 
world ; for a long time we observe in them a mixture of 
good and bad qualities ; and their natural corruption, 
like tares, often hinders their progress in righteousness. 
A field of corn is not only the emblem of a Christian in 
particular, but also of the church in general. The pro- 
fane and the wicked often sow, by their evil example, tares 
in the field where there should be nothing but good seed. 
The great Proprietor of the field permits those tares to 
remain for a season; he exercises patience and long- 
suffering, and will not give free course to his justice till 
the time of harvest, the great day of retribution. Be- 
hold with what eagerness the country people run to col- 
lect the fruits of the earth ! The sickle levels all before 
them. Thus death brings all to the dust, the great and 
the small, the rich and the poor, saints and sinners ! 

But what does this noise in the fields mean ? Oh, it 
is the sound of joy and gladness, at the sight of an abun- 
dant crop. Oh that they were also the cries of praise 
and thanksgiving, to celebrate the goodness of God, from 
which all these blessings proceed ! But how joyful shall 
the righteous be in the great day of the harvest ! With 
what unutterable love shall their hearts overflow when 
they are introduced into the blessed society of angels, 
and the spirits of just men made perfect ! Then shall 
they remember with gratitude their former labours and 
sufferings, the dangers and tempests through which they 
have been safely brought, and their hearts and voices 
shall be united to magnify that beneficent Father who 
has watched over them. Let this pleasing hope support 
us in the time of trouble, let it comfort us in our suffer- 
ings, and cause us patiently to wait for the great har- 
vest-day ! 



Metals form an important class of bodies, well de- 
serving attentive consideration, and affording much cause 
of gratitude to God, who has placed them within our 
reach, and given in greatest abundance those which are 
most useful Till modern times, only seven metals were 
known, two of which, gold and silver, were called per- 
fect metals ; the others, copper, tin, iron, lead, and quick- 
silver, were accounted imperfect metals. The researches 
of chemists presented many other bodies. Having me- 
tallic characters, they received the name of semi-metals. 
These distinctions are insignificant, and have fallen into 
disuse. Metals are distinguished as a class of bodies by 
a high degree of lustre, opacity, combustibility, and by 
affording a ready passage for the electric fluid. Their 
utility is exceedingly interesting. In all revolutions of 
science, these bodies have afforded facts of the greatest 
importance. They may be considered as the great in- 
struments of human industry. Many of the mechanical 
arts could not exist without them ; and it is probable 
that mankind would never have acquired without them 
that degree of civilization which characterizes the pre- 
sent state of society. They have not been decompounded 
by the chemist, and are therefore called elements. They 
unite with oxygen with different degrees of facility, on 
which account they hold some relation to inflammable 

This union of oxygen with the most inflammable 
metals produces alkalies and alkaline earths ; others yield 
oxides, as the rust of iron, red lead, &c, bodies resem- 
bling earths ; some few of them, combined with oxygen, 
furnish acids. They differ greatly in degrees of hard- 
ness, ductility, tenacity, fusibility, and other properties. 
The common metals, known from remote antiquity, are 
the most useful in the arts, and none more so than iron. 
Most of the comforts, and many of the luxuries and 
refinements of social life, are connected with their appli- 

The metals are found in the bowels of the earth, 

METALS. 145 

sometimes on its surface. They seldom occur in a pure 
state, but in combination with various substances, as 
sulphur, oxygen, and acids of several kinds, and often 
are combined with each other. The minerals which 
contain them in considerable quantity are called ores, 
generally occurring in mountainous districts, making 
part of the mountains, or filling the cavities or openings 
of the rocks, called veins. 

Gold was long considered as the heaviest substance 
within our reach ; but platina, a metal of white colour, 
between that of silver and tin, is much heavier. It was 
first brought from South America. Excepting this, gold 
still ranks as the heaviest body known. 

Platina, gold, and silver do not readily unite with 
oxygen, and therefore are not easily tarnished by ex- 
~posure to the atmosphere, which renders them proper for 
jewellery and various ornamental works. 

But no metal is so useful, or found in so great abun- 
dance, as iron. It is very plentifully diffused in the 
bowels of the earth in most regions. In the northern 
parts of the world whole mountains are formed of iron 
ore. This metal pervades almost everything ; it is the 
chief cause of colour in earths and stones, and is found 
in plants and animals ; it is said that dry oak wood con- 
tains one-twelfth of its weight of this metal. When 
pure it is soft and ductile, and when rubbed emits a pe- 
culiar smell. In solution, its taste is sweet and styptic, 
and it is fused with difficulty. It is employed in the 
state of cast iron, not purified from carbon and oxygen, 
and some other substances. Wrought iron is deprived 
of these by heat and hammering. This again is con- 
verted into steel by various processes, which communi- 
cate to it a portion of carbon. 

The knowledge, treatment, and modification of iron, 
in its different states, have great influence on the power 
and happiness of nations : it would require volumes to 
describe, in detail, its uses. It unites force and resist- 
ance to flexibility and spring. It serves for the purpose 
of constructing innumerable machines and utensils in 
its different forms of cast iron, malleable iron, and steel. 
By means of it the earth has been cultivated and sub- 
• dued. Without iron, houses, cities, and ships could not 
vol. ii. n 



be properly built. It is subservient both to the common 
and refined arts. In its non-metallic state it is capable 
of yielding the most beautiful colours, as the Prussian 
blue, black dyes, &c. As a medicine, its uses are nu- 
merous and important. Its power of acquiring and 
retaining magnetism is not less useful than it is wonder- 
ful. To this astonishing property we owe the invention 
of the mariner's compass, an instrument by which our 
seamen traverse the ocean, and open a' commercial, 
friendly, and beneficial intercourse with every quarter of 
the world. 

The other metals have many useful properties, and are 
variously employed in the arts, in medicine, and in the 
common purposes of life, combining advantage, orna- 
ment," and elegance. 

Shall we remain silent when we contemplate this 
order of things ? Or shall we not rather express the 
feelings of gratitude, and say, " O Lord, all thy works 
praise thee, and all of them declare thy unbounded good- 
ness to the sons of men !* 



Shell-pish, or testaceous animals, constitute a very 
considerable part of the animal kingdom. They live in 
houses of a substance more or less calcareous, which may 
be considered as their bones. Their shells are either 
univalve, i. e., of one piece; or bivalve or multivalve, 
i. e., composed of two or more pieces. Testaceous ani- 
mals form two large families, the muscle, the shell of 
which consists of more than one piece, and the sea-snaiL 
whose shell is in one piece, and generally spiral. The 
construction of the former is much more simple than that 
of the latter. Muscles have neither head, horns, nor jaws. 
A windpipe, a mouth, and sometimes a species of foot, 
are all that can be distinguished in them. The greater 
part of the snail kind have, on the contrary, a head, 
horns, eyes, and a foot. 

There is a great variety among shell-fish relative to 


generation. In some the sex is discoverable, others are 
hermaphrodites, and some seem to be of no sex. Some 
are oviparous, others are viviparous. Testaceous animals 
are born with their shells on them ; but in proportion 
as the animal grows in his house (the interior walls of 
which are covered with a very fine membrane) it in- 
creases also, not only in thickness, by layers one over tin; 
other, but also in circumference, because the circumvo- 
lutions or spires multiply more and more. The shells 
are formed by a viscous liquid, which transpires from the 
animal, and which grows hard, and thickens by degrees. 
But whether shells grow by an external juxta-position, or 
by inward nourishment in the ordinary way, has not 
been absolutely determined. However, it is most likely 
that they are formed in the way first mentioned. Most 
shell-fish live in the water, and especially in the sea ; 
sometimes near the shore, and sometimes in the main 
ocean. Some are carnivorous; others feed on plants. 
Some stay at the bottom of the sea ; others stick immove- 
ably to the rocks. Oysters, and many other animals with 
hard shells, attach themselves to different substances, 
and continue firmly united to them, by means of a glu- 
tinous, gritty liquor ; and often they are cemented one 
to another in heaps. This adhesion is voluntary in some 
shell-fish, which fasten themselves as occasion may re- 
quire; but it is involuntary in others, which continue 
always immoveable on those rocks to which they fasten 
at first. 

The knowledge we have of various animals is still 
very imperfect. As they mostly live in the bottom of 
the water, it is very difficult to make exact observations 
on their formation, mode of life, food, propagation, 
motions, &c. As yet we know but three or four classes 
of shell-fish ; but it is very likely that hundreds of others 
might be discovered, could we carry our researches to 
the depths of the sea, and the bottom of rivers. Hitherto 
we have scarcely attended to any thing besides the beau- 
tiful shape and colour of shells ; but the true construction 
and manner of life of the animals which inhabit them 
are still very little known ; and we know almost nothing 
of the end for which they were formed. Nevertheless, 
this class of animals furnishes us with subjects sufficient 

n 2 


to lead us to admire the infinite grandeur of God. How 
immense is his empire ! In every place we find crea- 
tures, each of which, in its particular order, bears the 
signature of the Divine Majesty. To he convinced of 
this, we have only to enter into the cabinets of those 
who preserve the shells of these animals. Let us con- 
sider the prodigious diversity manifest in their size, form, 
and colours. Here the finger of God is visibly shown, 
and every thing convinces us that he has proposed ends 
highly worthy of his wisdom and goodness. 



A God who, from his supreme elevation, could be an 
indifferent and idle spectator of all the revolutions which 
take place in the world, would not be worthy of our 
homage. Happy for us, that the government of the 
God we adore comprehends all his creatures. Every- 
where we may find the centre of his empire, but we no- 
where find its limits. All his works are continually 
before his eyes. He sees the past, the present, and the 
future, at one glance, and comprehends all their relations 
and dependencies. The least events, the most trifling 
circumstances, so far from escaping his notice, enter all 
into the plan which he has formed to accomplish the in- 
finitely wise and holy ends which he has proposed ; and 
all these ends unite and concentre to produce the greatest 
possible degree of happiness to his creatures. Yes, God 
takes pleasure in his works : with one glance of his eye 
he sees the whole ; and with a single act of his will he 
governs all. His laws are dictated by infinite wisdom, 
and his commandments are a source of joy and happi- 

God, by his providence, preserves the different species 
of creatures which he formed in the beginning of the 
world. Animals die, but others come in their place. 
Generations of men pass away, and others succeed them. 
The Ruler of the world makes use of inanimate creatures 
to preserve and render those that five happy ; and finally, 


he subjects the whole to man, who, of all his creatures 
here below, is alone capable of knowing his works and 
adoring him. 

This God, who is holiness itself, wills that all his crea- 
tures should be holy. By the continual proofs which he 
gives them of his love for goodness, and his hatred to 
evil, he speaks to their hearts, and necessarily encourages 
them to walk in the way he has pointed out. He directs 
their actions to this end : he renders their designs abor- 
tive when they are contrary to his merciful views ; and 
he furnishes them with means to avoid the paths of ini- 
quity. What wise measures did he make use of to lead 
the children of Israel to the blessed ends he proposed ! 
In vain did the idolatrous nations more than once con- 
spire to destroy them ; they were still supported by the 
protection of their God. He neglected nothing to main- 
tain his pure and holy religion among them ; which dis- 
tinguished them from the idolatrous people around. 

But our God dwells in light inaccessible. There are 
depths of wisdom in his government, which no creature 
can fathom. Our understanding is too weak to compre- 
hend the whole of the plans of the Lord, so as to form 
just ideas before the event has unfolded them. Our 
knowledge is too limited to penetrate the infinitely wise 
counsels of the Divine Being, and to discover, before- 
hand, the motives of his conduct and of his dispensa- 
tions. The wicked often sit among princes, while the 
righteous pine in the dust : the wicked triumph, and the 
good man is oppressed. Everything smiles on the bad, 
while the friend of God meets with nothing but afflic- 
tion and loss. And yet there is a Providence. Yes, 
notwithstanding all these apparent disorders, the Lord is 
ever the tender Father of his creatures ; their God, infi- 
nitely wise; and their just and equitable King. He 
should be adored in all his dispensations, however im- 
penetrable they may appear to us. His counsels are 
marvellous : his plans surpass our understanding ; all 
that takes place in this world, and which so often asto- 
nishes us, tends to the accomplishment of the most ex- 
cellent designs. That load of affliction and misery under 
which we groan may possibly have the happiest influ- 
ence over our future state ; this apparent evil is probably 


an indispensable remedy for the soul ; and on this salu- 
tary chastisement the perfection of our faith, the purifi- 
cation of our heart, and our eternal felicity, may in a 
certain measure depend. O thou who art discontented 
with thy lot, consider these things, and thou shalt cease 
to complain. " Why, O man, dost thou undertake to 
fathom those purposes according to which God governs 
the world ? Thy understanding is limited, and yet thou 
pretendest to discover the views which an infinite Being 
proposes to himself! Thou canst not comprehend the 
connexion of those things which pass under thy notice ; 
thou art ignorant of that which went before, and of that 
which must follow ; and nevertheless thou hast the pre- 
sumption to decide concerning causes and effects ! Pro- 
vidence is just in all its plans, and in all its dispensations. 
It is true that thou canst not always see the motives of 
his conduct : to be able to comprehend them, thou must 
be what God is." 



Our fields, crowned with ears of corn, are a hymn of 
praise to Jehovah : the joy which sparkles in the eyes of 
the reaper is a hymn to the God of nature. It is he 
who causes bread to spring out of the earth, and who 
loads us with his blessings. Come, let us assemble, and 
sing unto the Lord ; let his praise be for ever the subject 
of our songs. Let us listen to the voice which we hear 
from the bosom of our fruitful fields. " The year shall 
crown thee with its blessings. O world, thy happiness 
is my work. I have called forth the spring ; the har- 
vest and its produce are the works of my power. The 
fields by which thou art supported, and the little hills 
covered with corn, are mine." Yes, O Lord, we see thy 
Majesty, and feel the value of thy favours. It is by 
thee that we exist ; life and its supply are presents from 
thy hand. Blessed be thou, O held, which producest 
food for man ! Flourish, thou beautiful meadow ; clothe 
yourselves with thick foliage, O ye forests 1 God of na- 


ture, be thou ever beneficent towards us ! Then, from 
the dawn of the morning to the close of the day, the 
Lord shall be the object of our praise. Free from anxiety, 
we shall rejoice in his benefits, and our children shall 
repeat after us : " The God of heaven is our Father ; the 
Lord, the Lord, he is God !" 


Lord, thou art worthy to receive glory, honour, and 
praise. Lord, my God, my Redeemer, my Rock and my 
High Defence. My soul blesses thee. I will publish thy 
wonders : I will rejoice and be glad in thee, and cele- 
brate thy name, O thou most High. 

I give thee thanks for that immortal soul which thou 
hast given me, which thou hast redeemed by the blood 
of thy Son, and which thou sanctifiest by thy grace. 

I praise thee for the body thou hast given me, and 
which thou still preservest in health and strength ; for 
these limbs, so well adapted to their ends ; and for my 
senses, which are still preserved in strength and vigour. 
Eternal Source of life and happiness ! to thee I owe my 
being, and for it I praise thy name ! 

I give thee thanks for that fatherly goodness with 
which thou providest daily for my support ; and for 
those various and innumerable blessings which thou dis- 
pensest to me, and which render my life comfortable. 

I praise thee for those tender connexions thy pro- 
vidence has led me to form; and for the inestimable 
present thou hast made me in giving me friends. 

I give thee thanks for the glorious hope I have of 
knowing one day, by happy and eternal experience, in 
what the blessedness of heaven consists. 

I praise thee for this month, which I am now so hap- 
pily concluding. O God, thou hast done great things in 
my behalf; my soul rejoices in it; may I magnify thee 
for ever and ever ! Amen. 



Sing unto the Lord with holy rapture ; sing a new 
song unto our God ! The Lord is great ! Let us for ever 
celebrate this Being, who is infinitely good, infinitely 
wise, and from whose eyes nothing can be hid. 

He has stretched out this starry heaven as a pavilion 
over our heads. There, encompassed with the splendour 
of innumerable suns, he has established his throne. 
There he dwells in light inaccessible to mortals. 

Lord, I am lost in this splendour ; but thou, in thy 
infinite goodness, art to be found everywhere : thou art 
incessantly present with all thy creatures. Astonished 
at the wisdom of thy providence, and penetrated with 
admiration, I praise and exalt thy holy name. 

1 glorify thee, who governest the earth with paternal 
care. Thou enlightenest it by the sun ; thou waterest it 
by showers ; and refreshest it by dews. 

Thou coverest it with smiling verdure ; thou crownest 
it with flowers ; thou enrichest it with crops ; and re- 
newest its ornaments and its blessings year by year. 

Thy care extends to all that exists ; and the smallest 
creature is an object of thy kind attention. The young 
raven, which, covered with snow, cries unto thee from 
the summit of the barren rock, is fed by thy hand. 

Thou commandest the cooling stream to run from the 
bosom of the barren mountains ; thou orderest the sun 
to invigorate the vines which adorn the hills, and ripen 
the fruits of our orchards ; thou sendest the cooling 
breeze into our forests. 

When thy sun begins to illuminate the world by the 
splendour of his fires, he calls forth the creatures to their 
labour : all is active in nature, till the time when the 
silence and darkness of the night bring on the desired 

But, as soon as the day begins again to spring up, the 
choir of birds cause the air to resound with songs of 
gratitude and joy : it is then that all the nations of the 


world, and all the zones under heaven, lift up one con- 
cert of praise unto thee. 

To thee they sing, Father of all heings ! Thou lovest 
all, thou loadest all with thy blessings ; thou hast de- 
signed all men for happiness, provided they themselves 
desire to be happy. 

May thy name be celebrated in all the worlds which 
compose thy empire ! Let every voice unite in a universal 
song to that God whose goodness is unlimited, and whose 
wisdom is eternal ! 


Thou art present everywhere, O Almighty God ! Yes, 
thou art here, thou art afar off, thou fillest the universe. 
Here grows a flower; there shines a sun : thou art there, 
thou art here also. Thou art in the breeze, and in the 
tempest ; in the light, and in the darkness ; in an atom, 
and in a world. Thou art present here in this flowery val- 
ley ; thou attendest to my feeble accents, and thou hearest 
at the foot of thy throne the sublime songs which accom- 
pany the seraph's lyre. O thou, who art the God of the 
seraphim, thou art also my God ! Thou hearest us both ; 
thou hearest also the joyous notes with which yonder 
lark causes the air to resound ; thou hearest also the 
humming of that young bee that flutters round the rose. 
Omnipresent Being ! if thou hearest me, grant also my 
request : may I never forget that I am in thy sight ; 
may I think and act as in thy presence ; that when cited 
to the tribunal of my Judge, with the whole world of 
spirits, I may not be constrained to flee from the face of 
the Holy of Holies ! 



Let us examine those beautiful creatures before they 
die ; probably this examination may be instructive both 
to our understanding and to our heart. 



The first thing that merits our attention, when view- 
ing these inhabitants of the air, is the dress with which 
they are adorned. Some of them, however, have nothing 
particularly striking in this respect ; their clothing is plain 
and simple. Others have a few ornaments on their wings ; 
and some have such a profusion that they are entirely 
covered with them. Let us reflect for a few moments 
on this last species. How beautiful are the shades which 
adorn it! How pretty the spots which set off other 
parts of its dress ! With what delicacy has nature pen- 
cilled them ! But, however great my admiration may be, 
while I view this insect with the naked eye, it will be 
vastly increased when I view it through a microscope. 

Who could have imagined that the wings of butter- 
flies were garnished with feathers ? And yet nothing is 
more certain. What is commonly termed dust on their 
wings is found to be feathers. Their structure and ar- 
rangement are as full of symmetry as their colours are of 
beauty. The central parts of these little feathers, which 
come in contact with the wings, are the strongest; those, 
on the contrary, which form the external circumference, are 
much more delicate, and extremely fine. All these feathers 
have a quill at the end; but the superior part is more trans- 
parent than the quill from which they proceed. If the wing 
be roughly handled, the more delicate part of the feathers 
will be destroyed. But, if what is called the dust be 
wiped away, nothing remains but a fine transparent skin, 
where may be readily distinguished the little holes in 
which the quill of each feather was inserted. This skin, 
from the manner of its formation, may be as easily dis- 
tinguished from the rest of the wing, as fine gauze from 
the cloth on which it is sewed ; it is more porous, more 
delicate, and seems as if embroidered with a needle; 
lastly, its contour is terminated with a fringe, the threads 
of which are extremely fine, and succeed each other in 
the most regular order. 

What are our most elegant dresses in comparison of 
that which nature has given this insect? Our finest 
laces are but coarse cloth, compared to the delicate 
texture which covers the butterfly's wings ; and our finest 
threads appear, in presence of this, but a clumsy rope. 
Such is the extreme difference between the works of 


nature and art, when examined through a microscope. 
The former are finished in the utmost perfection ima- 
ginable ; the latter, even the most beautiful in their kind, 
have no proper finish, and are coarsely made up. How 
beautiful does a fine piece of cambric appear to us ! 
Nothing more delicate than its threads ; nothing more 
regular than its texture : nevertheless, these fine threads, 
viewed through a microscope, resemble hempen pack- 
thread ; and we should rather suppose the cloth to have 
been wrought by the hands of a basket-maker than by 
an excellent weaver. 

What is most astonishing in this brilliant insect is, 
that it comes from a worm, whose appearance is mean 
and vile. See how this butterfly spreads its sparkling 
wings to the sun, how it sports in his rays. How it 
• rejoices in its existence, and flutters from flower to flower. 
Its splendid wings present us with the magnificence of 
the rainbow ! How beautiful is it now ! How much 
has it changed since the time in which, under the form 
of a reptile, it grovelled in the dust, always in danger of 
being trodden to death. Who has raised it above the 
earth ? Who has given it the faculty of living in the 
air ? Who has given it these beautifully coloured wings ? 
It was God. It was its Author, and ours. In this insect 
he has shown us an emblem of the transformation which 
awaits the righteous; a day will come when, quitting 
this present form, they shall cease to grovel on the 
earth ; then, holy and glorious, they shall be raised 
above the clouds ; and, having nothing to obstruct their 
activity, they shall spring forward even beyond the stars 



Each tree, however bushy it may be, receives its 
principal nourishment from its lower parts; and it is 
probable there is in it a circulation of juices, similar to 
the circulation of blood in the human body. The ex- 
tremities of the roots are a prodigious mass of spongy 
fibres, and globules of air, but are always open to imbibe 


the juice which the earth affords them. This juice is 
at first nothing but water, impregnated with earthy par- 
ticles; then, by means of a sort of milky substance, 
which is peculiar to each tree, and which distinguishes it 
from others, the juice acquires a nutritive quality before 
it ascends into those parts of the tree which are above 
the surface of the earth. By the assistance of a micro- 
scope, wood, notwithstanding its hardness, is found to be 
nothing else than an assemblage of an infinite multitude 
of little hollow fibres. 

Most of them, particularly in shrubs, ascend per- 
pendicularly; but, to give more consistence to these 
fibres, there are in certain trees, particularly in those 
designed to be strong and hard, tubes which proceed 
horizontally from the centre to the circumference. At- 
tracted by the heat of the sun, the juice ascends by 
degrees into the branches, and to all their external parts ; 
as the blood proceeding from the heart is carried by the 
arteries to the extremities of the animal body. When 
the juice has been sufficiently diffused through all the 
parts where it was necessary, what remains ascends by 
certain large vessels, placed between the outer and 
inner bark, just as the blood returns back through the 
veins. From this a growth results which is annually 
renewed, and this is what constitutes the size of the 
trees. To be convinced of this, we need only cut a 
branch transversely, and from this we shall be able to 
ascertain the age of the tree. While the trunk grows 
more and more in height, the root grows downward in 
the same proportion. As to the exterior bark, it appears 
to be designed to serve, iii some sort, as a garment to the 
tree, to unite the component parts closely together ; and 
to preserve the tender but essential parts, from external 
accidents, and from the intemperature of the air. 

Thus has the wise Creator formed an admirable system 
of solid and fluid materials, in order to give life and 
growth to those trees which adorn our fields, and give 
shade to our flocks, our shepherds, and our cottages ; 
and which, when cut down, serve so many useful pur- 
poses to many. In this we discover that wisdom which 
is never mistaken, which prescribes to nature laws, in 
certain respects, immutable ; and which act uninterrupt- 


edly under the eye of Providence. A wisdom so pro- 
found, an art so marvellous, so many preparations and 
combinations for each tree, should excite us to venerate 
and admire his creating hand. The contemplation of 
this wisdom is a most delightful study, and must animate 
us to glorify that God, so great in his counsels and plans, 
and so wonderful in their execution. The more traces 
we discover of this wise Providence, the more we should 
be induced to place all our interests in his hands, who 
can never want means to turn all things to the advantage 
of his creatures. Finally, we should be encouraged to 
raise our affections to him, and supplicate him to enrich 
our souls with the gift of wisdom, and cause them to 
grow in grace. 

May we, in our progress through life, resemble a 
flourishing tree. May we incessantly grow up in all 
righteousness ! May we bring forth fruit suitable to our 
situation in life, and to that capacity which God has 
given us ! May we also grow inwardly ! May our souls 
be strengthened in holiness ; established against all the 
storms of life ; and deeply rooted in humility ! May 
we never find the emblem of our state in an old tree, 
which the longer it grows, the more it attaches itself to 
the earth. The nearer we come to the tomb, the more 
free should we be from all earthly attachments. 



No insect is more famous for its dexterity than the 
ant-lion ; there are fifteen species of them, but the for- 
micarius, or ant-eater, is the most remarkable ; it nearly 
resembles the woodlouse. It is provided with six feet ; 
and its body, which is composed of many membraneous 
rings, terminate in a point. Its head, flat and square, is 
armed with two moveable crooked horns, whose singular 
structure shows how admirable Nature is, even in her 
smallest works. 

This insect is the most subtle and dangerous enemy 
the ant has ; the plans he forms to ensnare his prey are 


very ingenious. He mines a portion of earth in form of 
a funnel, and there waits in expectation of dragging to 
the bottom those ants which may chance to come to the 
precipice. In order to dig it, he traces in the earth a 
circular furrow, the circumference of which is exactly 
equal to the opening of the funnel ; and the diameter 
of the funnel is always equal to the depth of his ditch. 
When he has fixed on the size of this opening, and 
traced the first furrow, he digs a second, concentric to 
the first, that he may throw out all the sand inclosed in 
the first circle. All these operations he performs with 
his head, which serves him in place of a shovel ; and its 
flat and square form renders it fit for this purpose. He 
also takes some sand with one of his fore feet to throw 
it beyond the first furrow, and this work he repeats till 
he has got a certain depth in the sand. Sometimes in 
digging he meets with grains of sand, or dry bits of 
earth, too large to remain in his funnel. Of these he 
rids himself by a quick and well-timed motion of his 
head. If he finds larger substances he endeavours to 
push them away with his back ; and he is so assiduous 
in his labour that he repeats it even six or seven times. 

At last, the ant-lion comes to enjoy the fruit of his 
labour. When his nets are once well laid, he is on the 
watch ; motionless, and concealed at the bottom of the 
ditch which he has digged, he waits for the prey that he 
is unable to pursue. Should any ant come on the brink 
of his precipice, it generally rolls down to the bottom, 
because the brink is made sloping ; the loose sand gives 
way under his feet, and the insect falls into the power of 
its enemy, who, by the assistance of his horns, drags it 
under the sand, and feasts on it by sucking its blood. 
When nothing remains but the dead body, without blood 
or juices, he casts it out of his trench, and repairs any 
injury it may have sustained, and sets himself in ambush 
anew. He does not always succeed in seizing his prey 
the moment it falls in ; it often escapes, and endeavours 
to climb up to the top of the funnel ; but then the ant- 
lion works with his head, and throws a shower of sand 
on his prey, part of which being cast beyond the ant 
drags it down to the bottom of the trench. 

All the actions of this little animal are so full of art 


that we might long examine them without heing wearied. 
The ant-lion employs himself in preparing his trench 
before he has even seen the animal which is his destined 
nourishment ; nevertheless, his actions are so well regu- 
lated that they become the most proper means of pro- 
viding his subsistence. How could such a slow-paced 
animal as this catch his prey so well as by digging in 
loose sand, giving a slope to his trench, and in over- 
whelming with showers of sand the insect that happens 
to fall into it ? All these actions have their fixed prin- 
ciples by which they are directed. His trench must be 
dug in the sand, without which it would not be fit to 
entrap his prey ; he must, according to the structure of 
his body, work backwards, and use his horns like tongs, 
to cast the sand over the brink of his funnel. The 
instinct which directs this structure shows us a First 
Cause, whose unerring wisdom has foreseen and ordered 
everything necessary to the preservation and well-being 
of such an animal. The dexterity which he evidences 
is not the fruit of experience and exercise, it was born 
with him ; we must then seek its origin in the wisdom, 
power, and goodness of that Supreme Being, who has 
proportioned the instinct of animals to the different 
degrees of their wants. 

These reflections are a new motive to induce us to 
glorify him who is the Creator of all. He is the source 
of life, and he wishes to diffuse it everywhere. He has 
formed this insect so as to make its existence a blessing 
to itself. He has furnished it with the necessary means 
for the preservation of life; and by the instinct with 
which he has endued this animal, however limited in other 
respects, he has raised, it to a degree of ingenuity approach- 
ing to reason, and in some respects even surpassing it. 
And what has been his design in all this, but only to 
furnish us with opportunities of knowing him, even by 
means of the most despicable creatures ? To this pur- 
pose we should devote this piece of natural history. 
Every insect, however insignificant it may be, should 
cause us to raise our minds to him who has created the 
small worm as well as the elephant, and who extends his 
care to the one as well as to the other. 



It is more difficult than we imagine to find out the 
specific difference between plants and animals. It is by 
imperceptible degrees that nature descends from animate 
to inanimate beings ; and exactly to distinguish these 
degrees, the penetration of an archangel would be re- 
quisite. But we may remark, that notwithstanding all 
the differences which we observe between those two 
species of organized bodies, there still remains much 

The seed is to the plant what the egg is to the animal. 
From the former springs the stalk, which was before 
concealed under its coats ; and this stalk makes an effort 
to raise itself out of the earth. In like manner the 
animal inclosed in the egg breaks the shell in order to 
breathe the open air. 

The eye or bud of the tree is the same in the vege- 
table that the embryo is in the animal kingdom. The 
eye does not pierce through the bark till it be of a proper 
size ; and it continues attached to it, in order to derive 
nourishment from it, as well as from the fibres of the 
plant. The embryo, at the expiration of a determined 
time, comes from the womb, but could live but a short 
time were it not to receive nourishment from its mother. 

The plant feeds on nutritive juices, which are brought 
to it from without, and which, passing through various 
canals, are at last changed into its substance. The 
nourishment of the animal is effected nearly in the same 
way. It also receives nourishment from without, and 
after having passed through different vessels, it is changed 
into animal substance. 

The fecundation of the germ takes place in the vege- 
table kingdom, when the dust of the stamina penetrates 
into the pistils ; in like manner fecundation takes place 
among animals when the seminal liquor penetrates into 
the ovaries or matrix. 

The multiplication of plants is effected, not only by 


seeds and ingrafting, but by slips. Animals multiply in 
like manner, not only by laying eggs and bringing forth 
their young alive, but also by slips, as in the case of the 

The diseases of plants have either external or internal 
causes. It is the same with the diseases of animals. 

Lastly, death is the common lot of the one as well 
as of the other. When old age has indurated and ob- 
structed the vessels, the circulation of the juices is 

Plants and animals dwell in the same places : the 
surface and interior parts of the earth ; the air, the sea, 
and the rivers, are filled with plants and animals. Both 
are^ extremely numerous ; though plants are not so 
numerous as animals. 

The size of the greatest tree is nearly equal to that of 
the largest animal. 

Thus one might be tempted to believe that animals 
and plants are beings of the same class, seeing nature 
passes from one to the other by imperceptible gradations. 
It is very certain that some general and essential resem- 
blances have been found between these two kingdoms ; 
but the truly essential differences have not as yet been 
pointed out. And though some should be discovered 
which have not as yet been observed, it will ever remain 
certain that nature has diversified her works by such 
fine shades, that the human mind can scarcely distinguish 
them. And who knows what discoveries may be re- 
served for our posterity ? Probably plants may yet be 
found out whose properties shall still more nearly re- 
semble those of animal bodies. And, perhaps, animals 
may be found out, which more nearly resemble vegetables 
than even the polype itself. 

Let us make that use of the knowledge we have, for 
which all the truths of nature and revelation were de- 
signed. Let us use it to glorify God, and to strengthen 
ourselves in virtue. Let the great resemblance which is 
found between animals and plants render us sensible of 
the power and wisdom of that Being who has, in some 
sense, impressed the character of infinity on all his 
works. But, O man, learn to be humble. Thou also 
partakest of the nature of the plant, and of that of the 


animal. To Jesus alone thou art indebted for the privi- 
lege of being placed between brutes and angels. En- 
deavour, by godliness, to resemble those celestial spirits 
more and more. And seeing it is granted thee to bear 
some resemblance to the Creator of all things, seek in- 
cessantly to be fitted for the kingdom of his glory. 
Think of what thou art, and think of what thou mayest 

" How wonderful is that creature who, like the brute, 
derives his nourishment from the bosom of the earth, 
and, like the angel, raises his thoughts to heaven ! A 
creature, one half of which perishes as the brute perishes, 
while the other half lives in immortal life ! A creature, 
destined to holiness and perfection ; to be free, and yet 
subject to God ; to praise him for ever, and to be for 
ever happy!" 



All sounds are produced by means of the air ; but in 
order to this, the air must be put in motion ; not that 
the agitation of the air is the cause of sound, for in that 
case every wind would be attended with a noise. To 
produce sound, the air must be suddenly compressed, 
that it may afterwards dilate and expand itself by its 
own elastic force. By this a kind of tremulous or un- 
dulatory motion takes place, something like those waves 
and concentric circles which take place in the water 
when a stone is cast into it. But if this undulatory 
motion depended only on the particles of air which were 
compressed, the sound in many cases could never reach 
our ears. It is therefore necessary that the sonorous 
body, after having made its impression on the contiguous 
air, should continue the impression from particle to 
particle, in a circular direction, to all parts. 

By means of this propagation the particles of air reach 
our ear, and we have then the perception of sound. 
This propagation takes place with prodigious velocity. 
Sound goes at the rate of 1142 feet in a second. This 


calculation, which has been verified by a multitude of 
experiments, may be very useful in many cases. It 
contributes to our safety, by informing us how far the 
lightning is from us, and, consequently, whether we are 
secure in the place we see the flash. We need only 
count the seconds, or the strokes of our pulse, between 
the lightning and the clap, and we can immediately tell 
at what distance the thunder is. By the same means 
we may calculate the distance of places, and that which 
separates two vessels. But it is very remarkable, that a 
weak sound is propagated with as much celerity as one 
that is strong. The agitation of the air is, however, 
more strong when the sound is louder, because a greater 
mass of air is put in motion, and because the vibrations 
of the air, although performed in the same time, are 
propagated through a larger space, the velocity of the 
vibrating atoms being in the direct proportion of the 
spaces through which they oscillate : hence, when these 
spaces are greater, the particles of air move faster, and 
strike the tympanum of the ear with greater force. The 
sound is loud when many particles of air are put in 
motion, and the contrary when there are but few. 

But of what use would these observations be, which 
philosophers have made on the nature and properties of 
sound, if our bodies were not so formed that we might 
have the perception of sound ? Let us praise God, who 
has not only so disposed the air that sound may be pro- 
pagated by means of its vibrations, but has also given 
us an organ by which we are capable of perceiving 
those sonorous impressions. A thin elastic membrane, 
stretched on the bottom of the ear, as the skin is on the 
drum, receives the vibrations of the air ; and by this we 
have the power of distinguishing all sorts of sounds. 
Thus far our knowledge reaches. But if we ask how, 
when a word is pronounced, we receive the idea of that 
word, and not of a simple sound ; or how a tone can act 
upon our mind, and produce in it so many different 
ideas ; we are obliged on all these points to confess our 
ignorance. It is necessary that this and everything else 
should convince us of the wisdom and goodness of the 
Creator. Were there no sound, all men would be dumb, 
and we should be as ignorant as infants who have not 


yet the use of speech. But by means of sound each 
creature may make known its wants, or express its hap- 

But man has great advantages oyer other animals. 
He can express the sentiments of his heart, and excite 
all the passions by certain tones of his voice. God has 
not only endued us with a power to distinguish sounds 
by the organ of hearing, but has furnished us with 
means to preserve this precious faculty. When one ear 
is injured, the other can supply its lack of service. And 
he whose hearing is weak may improve it by the acoustic 
horn. Even when the outer auditory pipe is injured, 
the internal one, which terminates in the mouth, may 
remain unhurt. Farther still; the Creator has even 
condescended to make this minister to our pleasures ; a 
multitude of musical instruments may delight and charm 
us, and we are able to distinguish their different tones ; 
for the auditory nerve transmits with the utmost fidelity 
the tones of an infinite number of sonorous bodies. 
With what sentiments of gratitude to our beneficent 
Creator should we be penetrated, when we consider 
what his kindness has done for us! May we never 
forget our obligations ! May our thanksgiving reach as 
far as sound extends ! May the universe re-echo his 
praises, and heaven and earth hear the great things 
which God has done for man ! 



When men attempt to investigate things, and to 
penetrate into the causes of those effects which they 
have seen, they are obliged to acknowledge how weak 
and limited their understandings are. The knowledge 
we have of nature, of which we are sometimes so vain, 
scarcely extends any farther than to a superficial ac- 
quaintance with the effects of a few things which we 
have constantly before our eyes, and which we are able, 
in a certain measure, to apply to our advantage. But as 
to knowing the causes of these effects, and how they 


operate, is to us an impenetrable mystery. There are 
even a thousand effects in nature which are concealed 
from us ; and those which we can in some measure ex- 
plain have a certain obscurity, which obliges us to re- 
member that we are but men. There are many pheno- 
mena, the immediate causes of which we know not. 
Several are doubtful; and there are very few that we 
know with certainty. 

We hear the wind blow ; we experience its great and 
various effects ; but we do not exactly know what pro- 
duces it, what increases it, and what abates its violence. 
From a small seed we see a plant spring with stalks and 
ears, and we know not how this is effected. As little 
can we comprehend how a plant can spring from a small 
kernel, which increases to a large tree, in the branches 
of which the fowls of the air may build their nests ; 
which clothes itself with leaves and blossoms, to shade 
and please us, and brings forth fruit for our nourishment, 
and affords us wood for many necessary uses. All the 
aliments we use, which are so very different in their 
nature, are transformed within us by an incomprehen- 
sible mechanism, and assimilated to our blood and to 
our flesh. We see the wonderful effects of the loadstone, 
and we believe there must be a certain matter which 
operates in it ; but whether it acts by an attracting force 
peculiar to itself, or whether the magnetic influence cir- 
culate about the stone, or whether it form a sort of 
vortex, we cannot determine. 

We feel the cold ; but no naturalist has been as yet 
able to discover how it is produced. We know more of 
thunder and lightning than our ancestors did ; but what 
the nature of that electric matter is, which in thunder- 
storms is so terrible, no man knows. We know that 
the eye sees the images which are painted on the retina ; 
that the ear has the perception of sound by the vibra- 
tions of the air; but what are perceptions, and how are 
they formed ? We have a conviction of the existence 
of the soul in the body; but who can explain the union 
of the body and soul, and their mutual influence on each 
other ? The effects of fire and air are continually before 
us; but who can tell what their nature is, what are 
their elementary parts, and how they produce their dif- 


ferent effects ? In a word, in respect to most things we 
have no fixed and incontestable principles, ana are re- 
duced to take refuge in probability and conjecture. 
What are all the hypotheses of philosophers but tacit 
confessions of their limited knowledge ? At every step 
nature presents us with wonders which confound us; 
and notwithstanding all our discoveries, a thousand 
things remain which we cannot comprehend. It hap- 
pens sometimes, it is true, that we can give happy ex- 
plications of certain phenomena ; but the principles, the 
first springs, their nature and mode of operation, are 
certainly far exalted above the sphere of our under- 

The mysteries of nature give us daily lessons of 
wisdom, on the subject of the mysteries of revelation. 
In nature, God has placed within our reach the means 
by which we may go through life comfortably, though 
he has placed their causes out of our sight. It is the 
same in the kingdom of grace ; he affords us means to 
arrive at a spiritual and eternal life, although the manner 
in which they operate is concealed from us. Is there a 
person who would refuse to eat and drink, till he could 
comprehend how food increases strength, and preserves 
life f Is there a man to be found, who would neither 
sow nor plant till he could comprehend the nature of 
vegetation? Is there any who would refuse to make 
use of wool till he could tell how it is formed ? Man 
does not push his extravagance so far. On the contrary, 
he observes the productions of nature ; experience tells 
him their utility, and he enjoys them with gratitude to 
his Maker. But why do not men conduct themselves 
so in respect to the mysteries of grace ? Men dispute 
about the nature of the means of salvation ; their efficacy, 
and their mode of operation; and they neglect that 
saving use of them which God intended. Oh, why are 
we not as wise in things spiritual as in things temporal ? 
Instead of giving way to vain and useless speculations, 
let us avail ourselves of those means of grace which 
God affords us, and make a faithful use of them ! For 
this end they were granted us, and not for subjects of 
curious speculation concerning their nature and manner 
of operation. If we find things which we cannot fathom 


or comprehend, let us receive them with humility, and 
acknowledge the weakness of our understanding. The 
advantage which we shall derive from a faithful use of 
them will be sufficient to convince us that they are the 
work of a Being infinitely wise and infinitely bene- 

God forbid that we should be so presumptuous as to 
flatter ourselves with the hope of being able to fathom 
either the mysteries of the kingdom of nature, or those 
of the empire of grace ! Let us not dare to criticise or 
blame what we cannot comprehend. Let us rather ac- 
knowledge the weakness of our understanding, and the 
infinite greatness of God. Then each mystery will excite 
us to adore that infinite Being whose works are marvel- 
lous, and whose ways are past finding out ! 



The bare consideration of the eyes of different kinds 
of animals is sufficient to convince any person of the 
wisdom with which God has formed the bodies of his 
creatures. He has not given the sense of sight to each 
in the same way, but has diversified the organs of it so 
as to adapt them in the best way to different kinds of 
animals. Deep reflection on this subject will afford us 
one of the noblest pleasures of which the human mind 
is capable. 

The eyes of most animals appear round ; but in this 
spherical figure there is great variety. Their situation 
in the head, near the brain, the most sensible part of the 
system, is subject to many differences also. Man, and 
most quadrupeds, have six muscles attached to each eye, 
by which they can move it from side to side. The 
position of the eye is such, that they see straight before 
them, and describe nearly a semicircle. But even in 
this there is a diversity. Horses, oxen, sheep, swine, 
and most quadrupeds, have a seventh muscle, to suspend 
and support the eyeball, which is highly necessary for 


them, because their head and eyes hang towards the 
earth while seeking their food. 

The eyes of frogs differ from ours, as they can cover 
theirs with a membrane, which is transparent, though 
of a sufficiently close texture. This defends their eyes, 
and guards them from those dangers to which animals 
in their way of life are exposed, by living sometimes on 
the land, and sometimes under water. Flies, gnats, and 
similar insects, have more perfect sight than other crea- 
tures. They have nearly as many eyes as they have 
apertures in their cornea. Whereas other animals, which 
have but two eyes, are obliged to turn them by means 
of muscles towards the objects, flies can see them dis- 
tinctly on all sides without interruption, and without 
the trouble of turning their eyes ; because one or other 
of these little eyes is, from its nature, always directed 
towards some one of the objects which surround them. 
Fish, which live in a denser element than ours, could 
see nothing, and by the strong refraction of the rays of 
light would be blinded, though their eyes are continually 
open and well formed, were not the crystalline humour 
almost spherical, in order the better to collect the rays 
of light. They have no eyelids, and they cannot draw 
back their eyes; but their cornea, which is almost as 
hard as a horn, preserves them from all danger. For- 
merly the mole was supposed to be blind, but it is cer- 
tain that it has little black eyes, about as large as the 
head of a pin. As this animal is almost always under 
ground, it was necessary that his eyes should be very 
small, sunk in the head, and covered with hair. 

We know that the eyes of snails are plaped on the 
tops of their two long horns, and that they can draw 
them into their heads, or push them out to discover dis- 
tant objects. In those animals which can neither move 
their heads nor eyes, this defect is compensated, either 
by the number of .eyes, or by some other means. The 
spider has four, six, and sometimes eight eyes, all placed 
in the front of a round head, without any neck. They 
are clear and transparent, like a bracelet garnished with 
diamonds. According to the way of life and different 
wants of several kinds of spiders, their eyes are distri- 
buted differently in their heads, that they may see on 


all sides ; and without moving their head, may at once 
discover the flies destined to he their food. 

The cameleon, a species of lizard, has the singular 
property of moving one of its eyes, while the other 
stands still ; of turning one eye up and the other down ; 
and of seeing what happens hoth before and behind it 
at the same time. Some birds have the same power ; 
so also have hares and rabbits, whose eyes are very 
convex. This preserves them from many dangers, and 
enables them to discover their food with less difficulty. 

All these examples, and they might be easily multi- 
plied, show very plainly the tender care of the Creator 
for the preservation of the organs of the most necessary 
senses. He has been pleased to communicate the bless- 
jng of sight to his creatures, in a variety of ways ; and 
we cannot but be struck with astonishment, when we 
consider the admirable art observed throughout ; and the 
precautions which he lias taken to keep his creatures in 
possession of this valuable gift, and to preserve it from 
the dangers to which it might be exposed. All parts of 
the bodies of animals are disposed in the most exact pro- 
portion, and in the most suitable manner to their differ- 
ent necessities, and the accomplishment of the ends for 
which they were designed. The situation of the eyes, 
their arrangement, their number, and their form, could 
not have been otherwise in any animal, without great in- 
convenience. For, it was not merely for ornament, but 
for the advantage of animals, that the Creator has so 
varied the structure and position of their eyes. And, un- 
doubtedly, one of his designs was, that we might learn 
to acknowledge and celebrate his wisdom in all things. 
Let the foregoing reflections be applied in this way ; and, 
when Ave seriously consider the wise ends which God 
has proposed in all his works, we shall be excited to 
magnify his power and goodness. 




Who would ever have thought that there were such 
creatures as fish if he had not seen them ? If a naturalist 
only knew those animals which walk and breathe on the 
land, like the rein-deer, and were told that there were a 
species of creatures in the water so formed, that they 
could live, move, propagate, and fulfil all animal func- 
tions with facility and pleasure in that element ; would 
he not treat the information as a vision, and conclude, 
from what happens to our bodies when immersed in 
water, that it would be impossible for any creature to 
live in that element ? 

The way in which fish live ; their make, motion, and 
the propagation of their species, are all very wonderful, 
and afford fresh proofs of the omnipotence and infinite 
wisdom of our Sovereign Creator. That these creatures 
might be able to live in the water, it was necessary that 
their bodies should be differently constructed, as to their 
essential parts, from those of terrestrial animals ; and we 
accordingly find this to be the case, on an examination 
of the external and internal structure of the bodies of 
fish. Why has the Creator given to most fish a tapering 
body, slender, flattened on the sides, and always pointed 
at the head, but that they might the more easily swim, 
and cut their way through the water ? Why are they 
covered with scales of a horny substance, but that their 
bodies might sustain no injury by the pressure of the 
waters ? Why are many fish, especially those which are 
destitute of scales, or which have only very soft ones, 
enveloped in a fat oily covering, but to preserve their 
tender substance from injury, and to keep them in a due 
degree of warmth ? Why have they such cartilaginous 
and porous bones, but that their bodies may be more 
light and flexible ? Why have all fish their eyes sunk 
into their heads, and why is their crystalline humour 
spherical, but that they may not be so easily injured, 
and that the rays of light may be better concentrated ? 

fish. 171 

It is evident, that in the arrangement of all these parts, 
the Creator has had respect to the mode of life and 
destination of these animals. 

But there are other circumstances equally admirable 
in the structure of fish. The fins are almost their only 
limbs, yet they are sufficient for all their motions. By 
means of the tail-fins they move forward. The back- 
fin directs the motion of their body; and they raise 
themselves by the breast-fin, while the belly-fin serves to 
hold them in equilibrio. The gills are their organs of 
respiration : they are situated behind the head ; there 
are four on each side, the uppermost of which are the 
largest. They take in water continually by their mouths, 
which is their inspiration; they throw it out at their 
gills, which is their expiration. The blood which pro- 
ceeds from the heart, and which is distributed through 
the veins of the gills, does not return through the lungs 
to the heart, as in terrestrial animals, but is directly dis- 
persed through all parts of the body. One of the organs 
most necessary to fish in swimming, is the air-bladder, 
which is included in their belly, and communicates with 
their stomach. By means of this bladder they can make 
their bodies lighter or heavier, as they please. As soon 
as this vessel is inflated they become lighter, ascend, 
and can swim near the surface of the water ; but when 
it is contracted, and the air compressed, their body be- 
comes heavier, and they sink in the water. When this 
bladder is pricked with a pin, the fish falls immediately 
to the bottom, and cannot raise itself up to the surface 

What farther merits our attention is, the prodigious 
number of fish ; as also the great variety in their shape 
and size. In Germany alone there are more than four 
hundred different kinds of fish. And who can count the 
numbers in each species ? Their external form is also 
greatly varied. Among fish we find the very largest, 
as also the smallest of animals. Some are long, and as 
fine as a thread ; others are short and broad ; others 
are flat, cylindrical, triangular, round, &c. There are 
some which are armed with a horn ; others with a species 
of sword ; and others with a kind of saw. Some have 

1 2 


nostrils through which they forcibly eject the superfluous 
water they have swallowed. 

Which are we most to admire in all this, the power 
and wisdom of the Creator in the formation and preser- 
vation of these animals, or his goodness in giving them 
for our use ? Everything must lead the attentive ob- 
server of the works of God to magnify his name. What 
magnificence does God manifest in all the elements, and 
in all animals, whether they inhabit the air, the earth, 
or the sea ! In the whale, whose back is as an island in 
the midst of the waters ; and in the gold fish, which 
glitters in the rivulets. And in all this how great is his 
goodness towards us ! Of how many nutritive dishes 
should we be deprived if those extensive plains, on which 
neither trees nor fruit grow, were not peopled with crea- 
tures as prolific as they are delicious, and which amply 
satisfy our wants ? 



Formerly it was supposed that insects, vermin, and 
even some quadrupeds, were generated from corruption, 
without the interposition of animals of the same species. 
But this hypothesis, which is manifestly opposite to rea- 
son, is contradicted also by the most decisive experiments. 
It is now well known that all animals can produce their 
like, and that this propagation is generally effected in 
two ways : first, by laying eggs ; secondly, by bringing 
forth the young alive. All the class of mammalia, or 
animals which give milk, are viviparous. All birds are 
oviparous ; but their eggs must be impregnated by the 
male before they are capable of producing young. In 
most animals, it is essentially necessary that the female 
should receive the seminal fluid by junction with the 
male. Fish alone seem to be an exception to this rule. 
That they couple, has not yet been discovered : the 
males cast their liquor, which is either swallowed by the 


female, or falling on the eggs which she has deposited in 
the water, impregnates them. 

Fish are the most prolific of all animals. When we 
think of the many millions of herrings which are caught 
annually, we may he surprised that any should still re- 
main. But the multiplication of fish is prodigious. It 
has been found, for instance, that the pike lays 300,000 
eggs; the carp above 200,000, and the mackerel near 
half a million ! The eel is viviparous. Most amphibious 
animals couple like others. Some, however, cast the 
seminal liquor like fish. Some are viviparous, others are 
oviparous ; but the latter do not hatch their eggs, they 
leave them to the warmth of the air, or to that of the 
water; and sometimes they deposit them in heaps of 

Worms are viviparous and oviparous. In their gene- 
ration there are many singular circumstances. The 
greater part, if not the whole, are hermaphrodites ; and 
they can impregnate themselves, or mutually impregnate 
each other. 

The distinction of sex is very evident in most in- 
sects : there are some, however, that have no sex ; and 
others in which the two sexes are united in the same 
animal. Insects are in general oviparous ; but there are 
some who bring forth their young alive. The eggs of the 
former are hatched by the warmth of the air; but in 
this class of animals a singular circumstance takes place, 
which at first sight might indicate that the male and fe- 
male never copulate. The insect called the leaf-louse, or 
blight, is commonly viviparous. An insect of this class, 
taken at the moment of its birth, separated from all of 
the same species, and shut up in the most perfect soli- 
tude, will, nevertheless, produce young ones. This takes 
place as follows : In the spring, and during the summer, 
the females of this species bring forth their young with- 
out previous union with the male. Then they are vivi- 
parous. A single one may produce a hundred little ones 
in less than three weeks. All that are born in this sea- 
son are females ; the males come about autumn. Then 
they couple, and the females lay eggs, and thus cease to 
be viviparous. These eggs are hatched in the spring. 
Thus one junction of male and female serves, at least, for 


ten consecutive generations, the individuals of which are 
impregnated with their mother s eggs ! 

When we reflect on this variety in the propagation of 
animals, we cannot but be struck with the wonders of 
the power and wisdom of God. The instinct which in- 
duces the two sexes to unite is admirable. This natural 
propensity is not produced by any external circumstance. 
It is manifested with as much energy in animals which 
live alone, as in those which are gregarious. The wis- 
dom of the Creator is further evident in this, that gene- 
rally the females have their set time of bringing forth 
their young. Wolves and foxes go to rutting in January ; 
horses in summer ; stags in September and October. In- 
sects couple in autumn ; birds, and most fish, in spring ; 
the roebuck and dove, in September ; cats in January, 
May, and September. If the coupling of animals did not 
take place at fixed times, the generations would be con- 
founded, and the race itself would be injured. 

Is it not astonishing, that while they enjoy their na- 
tural liberty, they do not mix in such a manner as to 
confound the different species, or cause the original genus 
to become extinct ? Who can help admiring how exactly 
the organs of generation in animals of the same species 
are suited to each other, and not at all adapted to crea- 
tures of a different order ; but exactly calculated to ac- 
complish that multitude of particular ends, which all 
unite in one grand general purpose, viz., the constant 
preservation and multiplication of every species of ani- 
mals ? 

How blind must those men be, who, in all this, will 
not acknowledge the wisdom of God, but ascribe the 
whole to chance! Hoping that the reader does not 
belong to this class of men, he is invited to contemplate 
the divine wisdom, so evidently manifested in the pro- 
pagation of animals. These meditations may not only 
be pleasing in themselves, but also furnish us with 
motives to love that God, who, for the good of the world 
and the benefit of man, has provided with so much wis- 
dom for the preservation and multiplication of animals. 




Formerly certain influences were ascribed to the 
moon which were well calculated to nourish superstition, 
and excite groundless fears. The gardener would not 
plant till he had made observations on the moon. The 
husbandman deferred sowing till he was well assured of 
the happy influence of this planet. Sick people attended 
with the most scrupulous exactness to the variations of 
the moon ; and physicians themselves paid attention to 
these in all their prescriptions. These prejudices, how- 
ever, have lost ground by degrees ; at least, it is certain, 
that the empire of superstition, relative to the influences 
of the moon, is not so universal as it was formerly. This 
is one of the many advantages the present age has over 
the past ; an advantage too little considered, but which 
merits our warmest gratitude to God. It is the duty of 
every person to render this still more extensive ; and to 
labour as much as possible to extirpate ancient super- 

With regard to the effects of the moon upon our bodies, 
it is best to preserve a just medium ; for, as it would be 
unreasonable to attribute to that planet too great an in- 
fluence over the human body, it would be no less rash 
to deny it any. It must be allowed that the moon occa- 
sions great changes in the air, and consequently may 
produce several alterations in the state of our bodies. 
The moon may cause considerable emotions and altera- 
tions in the superior part of the atmosphere ; so as to 
occasion' earthquakes, winds, heat, cold, exhalations, 
mists, &c. ; and on this account the health of our bodies 
may greatly depend on the influence of the moon. It is 
observed that people who have certain infirmities feel 
acerbations, and more acute pains, at the change and full 
of the moon. And this is not to be wondered at ; for 
it is true that cold and damp air, foggy and stormy wea- 
ther, have a different effect on our health, from a warm, 


dry, pure, and serene air. The moon must have consider- 
able influence over the animal economy, seeing she pro- 
duces such alterations in the temperature of the air. 
The action of this planet on the human body is founded 
on a principle that cannot be contested ; it is this : That 
our health depends, in a great measure, on the state of 
the weather, and the constitution of the air we breathe ; 
and no person can deny that the moon may cause many 
derangements in the atmosphere. Possibly there may 
be in the human body a flux and reflux occasioned by 
the mpon, analogous to that which she produces in the 
sea. Why do most periodical diseases return at the end 
of four weeks, rather than at a longer or shorter period, 
if they have no relation to the influences of the moon on 
the human body? 

In general, it is a principle which we ought to admit, 
to the glory of our wise Creator, that in all natural things 
there are certain relations which influence the animal 
economy in a variety of ways. There are, doubtless, 
various wonders in the atmosphere which are still un- 
known to us, and which occasion many important revo- 
lutions in nature. Who knows but many phenomena of 
the corporeal world, which we either think nothing of, 
or attribute to some other cause, depend on the moon ? 
Possibly the light with which she favours us during the 
night is one of the least of the purposes for which God 
formed this planet. Perhaps her being placed so near 
the earth was to produce on it certain effects, which the 
other planets could not do because of their distance. At 
least it is certain that everything in our system stands in 
some kind of relation to our globe. And it is this par- 
ticularly which shows the world to be such a master- 
piece of the divine wisdom. The beauty of the universe 
consists in the diversity and harmony of its component 
parts ; in the number, nature, and variety of their effects ; 
and in the sum of good which is the result of all these 

How then can the influence of the moon and stars 
create superstitious ideas and fears in our hearts ? If we 
believe that God has planned the whole, that he has 
established the connexions which subsist between all the 
globes, how can we indulge vain terrors, which are so 


contrary to the ideas we should form of the divine wis- 
dom ? If we be truly persuaded that this Supreme 
Being governs all things with infinite wisdom and good- 
ness, is it not natural that we should trust in him, and 
confide with tranquillity and joy in his good provi- 
dence ? 



The Ignis Fatuus, vulgarly called Will-with-the- 
Wisp, or Jack-a-lantern, is a little light flame which 
.skips about in the air, a few feet from the ground, and 
which appears to go hither and thither at random. This 
fire seems to disappear and go out suddenly, probably 
when brakes and bushes hide it from the sight ; but it 
is soon rekindled in other places. Such fires are seldom 
to be seen in cold countries ; and we are assured that in 
winter they are only to be seen in marshy places. In 
Spain, Italy, and other warm countries, they are met 
with in all seasons ; and are neither extinguished by 
wind nor rain. They are seen most frequently where 
there are putrefied plants and animal substances ; as in 
churchyards, common sewers, and in fat and marshy 

Too few experiments have been made on these aerial 
fires to determine with any precision on their nature. 
But the places where they are generally seen may lead 
us to very probable conjectures. For as they almost al- 
ways appear in marshy countries, it is natural to suppose 
that they are ignited sulphureous exhalations. It is 
well known that dead carcases and rotten plants some- 
times emit light. Probably the ignis fatuus is nothing 
else than exhalations condensed by the cold of the night, 
or is owing to a weak kind of electricity, produced by 
the inward motion of the exhalations which float in the 
air. Horse's, dogs, cats, and even men may become elec- 
tric, and emit sparks when they are rubbed, or put in 
motion in a particular way. May not the same thing 
happen to certain places of the earth ? It may so hap- 

i 3 


pen that a field, through particular circumstances, may 
be electrified in some parts, and then it is not aston- 
ishing that it should become luminous. The air itself 
may produce the ignis fatuus, when it is electrified to a 
certain degree. 

If the manner in which these aerial fires are produced 
be still uncertain, it is at least indisputable that they 
are effects of natural causes ; and consequently, we need 
not have recourse to superstition. Superstitious people 
look on these flames with so much terror, that few have 
courage enough to approach them. Many believe them 
to be departed souls or malignant spirits, which wander 
about, and which take pleasure in leading travellers 
astray during the night. What may have given rise to 
this superstitious notion is, that the ignis fatuus follows 
all the motions of the air, and thus it seems to fly from 
those who pursue ; and, on the contrary, follows those 
who run from and wish to escape it, and sometimes 
sticks to coaches, &c, which drive swiftly. But the 
reason of these phenomena is very evident, for the per- 
son who runs after one of these fires drives the air before 
him, and consequently the fire, which follows all its 
motions ; whereas the person who flies leaves an empty 
space, which the surrounding air incessantly rushing in 
to supply, a current is formed which has its direction 
from the fire to the person who runs, and this neces- 
sarily leads on this light flame. This also is the reason 
why the fire stops when the person ceases to run ; be- 
cause the .motion of the air then ceases. 

How many persons torment themselves with vain 
alarms, which have no other ground than a disordered 
imagination ! We might save ourselves from many 
fears, if we would take a little more trouble to examine 
the objects of our terror, and search out their natural 
causes. Nearly the same things happen to us in a moral 
sense. With what ardour do men pursue the goods of 
fortune, without examining whether they deserve this 
anxiety, or can afford us the happiness we expect from 
them ! 

Most ambitious and covetous people are as unsuccess- 
ful in the pursuit of honours and riches as Robert Floo;l, 
who used to run after the ignis fatuus without ever bein^ 


able to catch it. What do we gain in the end by the 
continual efforts we make to acquire those goods, which 
both in their nature and duration so exactly resemble 
the ignis fatuus ? Commonly terrestrial good flies away 
from him who pursues it, and falls to the lot of those who 
wish to avoid it. 



In order to procure wholesome and convenient dwell- 
ings, men require many materials. If these materials 
had been scattered over the face of the earth, it must 
"have been covered with them, and no room would have 
been left for animals and plants. Our earth is happily 
free from such incumbrance. Its surface has been left 
open, and it may be cultivated and traversed by its in- 
habitants without any hinderance. Metals, stones, and a 
hundred other matters which we continually use, are shut 
up under our feet in immense cellars, where we find them 
whenever we want them. These matters are not hidden 
in the centre of the earth, nor at an inaccessible depth, 
but are purposely brought near the surface, and placed 
under a vault, which is at once thick enough to produce 
sufficient nourishment for men and animals, and thin 
enough to be easily dug through, when we need to go 
down and bring Up some of the innumerable articles de- 
posited in this vast magazine. 

All the substances in the mineral kingdom may be 
divided into four classes ; each of which has its distin- 
guishing characteristic. The first includes earths. This 
name is given to those bodies which cannot be dissolved 
either by fire, or in oil, which are not malleable, and 
which stand the action of the fire without losing any of 
their substance. To this class belong, not only the sim- 
ple earths, but also stones, which are composed of these 
earths. There are two kinds of stones, the precious and 
the common. The latter are the most numerous, and 
present themselves to us in masses, different in form, 
size, colour, and hardness, according to the earths, sul- 


phurs, &c, of which they are composed. Precious stories 
are also in great variety. Some are perfectly transparent, 
and appear to be the most simple. Others are more or 
less opaque, according as they are composed more or less 
of heterogeneous particles. 

Salts form the second class in the mineral kingdom. 
They include those bodies which are soluble in water, 
and which leave a relish on the tongue. Some melt in 
the fire, and others remain in it unaltered. They are 
divided into acids, which are sharp and sour, and alka- 
lies, which leave on the tongue a bitter, burning, and 
lixivial taste. These have the property of changing all 
blue vegetable liquors into green. From an exact and 
proper mixture of these two salts with each other, neu- 
tral salts are produced. Among these the common or 
kitchen salt is reckoned, which is either extracted from 
the earth, or prepared with sea-water ; or obtained by 
the evaporation of brackish fountain water, in large cal- 
drons over a fire. All these salts are one of the principal 
causes of .vegetation. They also serve probably to unite 
and strengthen the parts of plants, as well as of other 
compound bodies. Finally, they produce fermenta- 
tions, the effects of which are very different and nu- 

The third class of the mineral kingdom comprehends 
inflammable bodies, to which the general name of bitu- 
mens has been given. They burn in the fire ; and when 
they are pure they dissolve in oils, but never in water. 
These bodies are distinguished from other minerals, by 
containing more of that inflammable quality which ren- 
ders those substances combustible, where they are found 
in sufficient quantity. There is less or more of this sub- 
stance in almost all bodies. 

The fourth class of the mineral kingdom contains 
metals. These are bodies much heavier than the others ; 
they become fluid in the fire, but resume their solidity 
when cold. They are bright and malleable. Among 
metals, some are found which when melted suffer no 
diminution of weight, nor any other sensible alteration ; 
these are termed perfect metals. Of this sort there are 
three, gold, silver, and platina. The other metals, which 
are called imperfect, are decomposed more or less speedily 


by the action of the fire, and commonly change into a 
calx. One of them, lead, has the property of being con- 
verted into glass, and of vitrifying all the other metals, 
gold and silver excepted. The imperfect metals are five 
in number, viz., quicksilver, lead, copper, iron, and tin. 
But there are other bodies which are distinguished from 
metals, not being ductile nor malleable : these are called 
semi-metals, and are nine in number ; viz., arsenic, 
molybdena, tungstein, manganese, nickel, cobalt, bis- 
muth, antimony, and zinc. This classification has been 
superseded by one much more ample and accurate. It 
is as follows : — See Parks' s Chemical Catechism. 

The general characters of metals are hardness, tena- 
city, lustre, opacity, fusibility, malleability, and ductility. 
They have been divided into seven classes : 

1. Metals which combine with oxygen, and form alka- 
lies. Of this class there are three in number, potassium, 
sodium, and lithium. 

2. Metals which, combining with oxygen, form the 
alkaline earths. These are four in number, calcium, 
magnesium, barium, and strontium. 

3. Metals which, combining with oxygen, form the 
remainder of the earths ; viz., silicum, alumium, zirca- 
niuni, glucinum, ittrium, and thorinum ; six in number. 

4. Metals which absorb oxygen, and decompose water 
at a high degree of temperature ; viz., iron, zinc, cad- 
mium, tin, and manganese ; five in number. 

5. Those metals which absorb oxygen at different 
temperatures, but do not decompose water at any tem- 
perature ; viz., osmium, cerium, tellurium, titanium, ura- 
nium, nickel, cobalt, copper, lead, antimony, bismuth, 
and mercury. These are twelve in number. 

6. Those metals which do not decompose water, but 
absorb oxygen, and are thereby converted into acids. 
These are six in number ; arsenic, molybdenum, tung- 
stein, chromium, columbium, and selenium. 

7. Those metals which do not decompose water, nor 
absorb oxygen at any temperature. These are six in 
number ; platinum, gold, silver, palladium, rhodium, and 
irridium — making forty-two in number, all distinct in 
their characters and qualities, as specified above. Mena- 
chanite is auothcr name for titanium. 


The whole mineral kingdom is the workshop of na- 
ture, where she labours in secret for the benefit of the 
world. No naturalist has yet been able to surprise her 
in any of her operations, and steal from her the art with 
which she assembles, prepares, and composes her salts, 
earths, bitumens, and metals. If we cannot guess how 
nature employs the substances which are daily produced, 
it is not less difficult to discover how the parts associate, 
combine, attenuate, and finally form the different bodies 
which the mineral kingdom presents us. We have but 
a very imperfect knowledge of the surface of the earth ; 
and we are still less acquainted with the interior parts. 
The deepest mines are not more than about 630 fathoms, 
which is not the six thousandth part of the earth's semi- 
diameter. This alone is sufficient to show how impos- 
sible it is to have an exact and perfect knowledge of 
nature, and the formation of the different substances in 
the mineral kingdom. Happily, in the use which we 
make of the gifts of nature, it is of little consequence 
whether we exactly know their origin and first princi- 
ples or not. It is enough that we have the knowledge 
necessary to apply them to our use. We know enough 
to glorify our Creator, seeing we are convinced that there 
is not a point, either on or under the earth's surface, 
where his power, wisdom, and goodness are not parti- 
cularly manifested. 



We do not pay sufficient attention to the gifts of God, 
and particularly to those which come to us from distant 
countries, and which are now become so necessary. If 
we considered what trouble it costs, what wheels, so to 
speak, must be put in motion in the great machine of 
the world, and how much strength and industry it re- 
quires to provide us a little sugar or cinnamon, we 
should not receive the gifts of God with such indif- 
ference as we generally do ; but, on the contrary, we 
should look up to that Supreme Being with gratitude, 


who uses so many means to convey his blessings to us. 
At present, let us consider those foreign productions 
which are become necessaries of life, and which would 
be so difficult for us to dispense with. Perhaps some 
useful reflections may arise from this ; and we may- 
think at least with concern on our ill-fated brethren, 
the miserable slaves, whose severe labour procures so 
many luxuries for us. 

Sugar is properly the salt which is found in the juices 
or marrow of a certain reed, which is cultivated princi- 
pally in Brazil, and in the neighbouring islands; but 
which is also found in abundance in the East Indies, and 
in some of the African islands. The preparation of sugar 
does not require much art, but it is extremely laborious, 
and it is slaves alone who are generally employed in this 
painful business. When the canes are ripe, they are 
cut and carried to the mill to be bruised, that the juice 
may be extracted from them. The juice is first boiled, 
without which it would ferment and grow sour. While 
it is boiling, they scum it to take off any dirt ; and this 
boiling is repeated four times, in four different cauldrons. 
To purify and clarify it still more, they throw into it 
a strong lye of wood -ashes and quicklime ; finally, 
they cast it Into moulds, that it may coagulate and 

Tea is only the leaf of a shrub which grows in Japan, 
China, and other Asiatic countries. These leaves are 
gathered three or four times during the spring. Those 
of the first gathering are the finest and most delicate. 
This is what is termed imperial tea, but it never comes 
into Europe. That which the Dutch sell under this 
name is only of the second gathering. 

Coffee is the kernel of a fruit similar to a cherry. The 
tree which bears it is a native of Arabia ; but it has 
been transplanted into many warm countries. Next to 
Arabia, the best place for its cultivation is the island of 
Martinique. The kernel which is found in the midst of 
the fruit we call berry ; when fresh, it is yellowish, or 
grey, or of a pale green ; and it preserves this colour 
pretty well when dry. The fruit is spread on mats, that 
it may be dried in the sun ; and it is afterwards bruised 
with rollers to separate the kernels from the fruit ; hence 



it is that each berry or kernel is divided into two. The 
kernels are once more dried in the sun before they are 
put on shipboard. 

Cloves are the buds or dried blossoms of a tree which 
formerly grew without culture in the Molucca islands ; 
but the Dutch have transplanted it to Amboyna. This 
tree is of the form and size of the laurel. Its trunk is 
covered with bark like that of the olive. "White flowers 
grow in bunches at the end of the branches, which have 
the appearance of nails. The buds are at first of a pale 
green, afterwards they become yellow, then red, and 
lastly, of a black brown, such as we see them. They 
have a more penetrating and aromatic smell than the 
mother clove, a name which distinguishes the dry fruit 
of the tree. 

Cinnamon is the second or inner bark of a species of 
bay-tree, and which at present grows almost nowhere 
but in the island of Ceylon. The root of the cinnamon- 
tree is divided into many branches, and covered exter- 
nally with a greyish bark, but with a red bark within. 
The leaf would bear a very near resemblance to that of 
the laurel, were it a little shorter and more pointed. The 
blossoms are white and small, of a very agreeable smell, 
like that of the mayflower. When the tree is some years 
old, they separate the two barks ; the outer bark, being 
good for nothing, is thrown away ; the inward bark is 
dried in the sun, and rolls itself up about the size of a 
finger, and this is what we call cinnamon. 

Nutmegs and mace are the produce of a tree which 
grows in the Molucca islands. The nut is covered with 
three rinds ; the first falls of itself when the nut is ripe ; 
the second then appears, which is very thin and fine ; it 
is taken off the fresh nut with a great deal of care, and 
exposed to the sun to dry. This is called tnacis in the 
Molucca islands, and is here improperly termed the nut- 
meg-blossom. The third bark is the inner coat of the 
nutmeg. The nut is taken out of its shell, and put in 
lime-water, in which it remains for some days, by which 
time it is well prepared, and fit to be sent abroad. 

Cotton grows in most parts of Asia, Africa, and 
America. It is the fruit of a sort of pod, which opens 
when ripe, and presents a wad or lump of down ex- 


tremely white. This is called cotton. When this wad 
swells with the heat, it becomes as large as an apple. 
With a little mill, they cause the seed to fall on one side, 
and the cotton on the other. It is afterwards spun for 
all kinds of work. 

Olive oil is the expressed juice of the fruit of the 
olive-tree ; whole forests of which may be seen in France, 
Spain, Portugal, and Italy. The inhabitants of the 
provinces where these trees abound make use of the oil 
instead of butter, as they have very few cows ; the ex- 
treme warmth of the earth preventing the growth of the 

Pepper is the fruit of a shrub, the stem of which re- 
quires a prop to support it. The wood of it is knotty, 
like a vine, to which it bears a near resemblance. Its 
leaves, which have a very strong smell, are oval, and ter- 
minate in a point. In the middle and at the extremity 
of the branches there are white flowers, whence the fruit 
grows in bunches similar to gooseberries; each fruit 
bears twenty or thirty peppercorns. 

It is not a little satisfaction to a reflecting mind, to 
think of the great number of aliments designed, not only 
to supply our necessities, but also to please our palate. 
Let us consider those blessings which the divine bounty 
grants us in such abundance. Every country contributes 
to furnish us with the necessaries and conveniences of 
life. The inhabitants of the most remote climates labour 
for us ; the miserable slave, who deserves to eat in peace 
and quietness the fruit of his labours, prepares, at the 
expense of his sweat and ease, those luxuries which we 
consume with so much profusion. If we do not think 
of our heavenly Benefactor, let us think at least of the 
instruments which he uses to procure us a part of our 
subsistence. But how can we forget that God who fur- 
nishes our table from all parts, and shows his goodness 
towards us from every quarter of the globe ? 



I live ; my blood circulates, without any concern of 
mine, through arteries and veins, arranged and protected 
with wonderful art. I can enjoy the sweets of sleep; 
and in a state in which I am ignorant of myself, in this 
body, which appears without motion or life, my soul 
still exists ! I awake ; my senses resume their functions, 
and my soul receives clearer and more lively ideas. I 
eat, I drink ; and surrounded on all hands with the 
beauties and riches of nature, I feel a thousand pleasing 
sensations. Am I the cause of these effects ? Did I 
give my first principles, the first rudiments of my body, 
this wonderful motion, when I was plunged in the night 
of nothing, and when I knew not what night was ? Did 
I form the many different parts of my body, I, who 
even at present know neither their arrangement nor 
combinations? Was I more knowing, more expert, when 
I had no existence ? or did my existence precede that 
of my thinking principle ? How is it that I cannot 
determine the point which separates sleep from waking ? 
What is the mechanism of my stomach, which digests 
food without my command, and without the smallest co- 
operation on my part ; and how is it that this digestion 
is effected ? How is it that all the creatures of the same 
species are formed as I am ; and why am I not formed 
in some other way ? Is it I who have created all the 
beauties of nature, or have they produced themselves ? 
What makes me susceptible of pleasure and pain ? Who 
causes bread and water to spring up from the earth, that 
my body may not pine away, that the motion of my 
limbs may not be stopped ? 

Who causes the rays of light to fall on my eyes, that 
I may not be encompassed with perpetual darkness ? 
Whence proceed the blessings which I experience ? the 
pain and grief of which I am sensible ? Why am I not 
always happy ? And why have I been so cruel to my- 
self as to form myself with so many imperfections ? 
Does every thing proceed from me? Have I a sum- 


ciency of power and activity for this? And are my 
fellow-creatures which I have seen, do see, and may yet 
see, endued with the same faculties ? Extravagant and 
contradictory thoughts, which discover the perverseness 
of those who indulge them. My soul, notwithstanding 
all its imperfections and limited state, attests the great- 
ness of that Being who has created it ; a Being neces- 
sarily self-existent and infinitely perfect ; on whom I am 
entirely dependant. This body which I bear, and of 
whose structure I am ignorant, proves that there must 
be a wise workman, whose greatness my feeble intellect 
cannot fathom, who has made and arranged these mus- 
cles, nerves, veins, and all the parts which my body is 
composed, in so wonderful a manner. 

How could man, that weak and limited creature, plan 
and execute the original of such a machine, so complex 
and so artfully constructed ; whose parts are connected 
together with so much harmony ; he who is not capable 
of even taking an exact copy of this original ? There 
is not the smallest particle of our bodies for which there 
is not a sufficient reason, and which is not absolutely 
necessary, or becomes so by the connexion it has with 
other parts. Experience as well as reason proves this 
beyond a doubt. And certainly the Creator must be 
infinitely great, seeing I am not the only creature who 
can boast that I am formed with so much wisdom, and 
with such admirable art. Millions of my fellow-crea- 
tures, innumerable multitudes of animate and inanimate 
beings, seem to call upon me with one voice, " Behold 
the Invisible, acknowledge him in his works ! See how 
his greatness and perfections are manifest in us all, and in 
thyself. Behold ! the most insignificant of us lives as 
well as thou ; it has received, as well as thou, both being 
and motion. O bless him, who has formed us all in so 
wonderful a way !" 

To thee, God, the adorable Author of my exist- 
ence, I owe eternal thanksgiving. It is by thee I live, 
in thee I move, and from thee I have my being. It is 
through thy goodness that my soul thinks and reflects, 
in a healthy body ; it is to thee alone that I owe all the 
pleasures which the surrounding creatures afford me. It 


is by thy command that all nature inspires me with joy. 
Thou waterest the earth, that it may he fruitful ; and 
that I perish not through lack of sustenance. Thou art 
he whom I and all intelligent beings adore ; thy good- 
ness, wisdom, and providence I bless, and recommend 
myself to thy paternal care for the future. Thou knowest 
all men, thou hast thy eye upon them, and observest 
all their actions. Thou dost not desire that we should 
pass our time in darkness and distress, and that we 
should consider our existence as a curse ; thou permittest 
us to enjoy, with a grateful heart, the innocent pleasures 
of life. 

When the bird in the air astonishes me with the 
rapidity of its flight, the elegance of its form, and the 
sweetness of its notes, is it not right that I should con- 
sider it as thy work, that its songs are so many hymns to 
its Creator, a»d that they should excite me to praise 
thee ? Thou providest food for it as well as for me. It 
is nourished by seeds, which thou causest to grow for it, 
as I am by the corn which appears to rot in the earth, 
but which, at thy command, becomes the support of my 
life. Thou sendest the rain and the beams of the sun 
upon the earth, to cause it to produce the most delicious 
fruit, while the utmost of my efforts could not produce 
a single blade of grass ! It is not merely the necessaries 
of life which thou grantest us, thou givest us besides 
what the world calls fortune, riches, and happiness. 
Thou directest events so, that even those which appear 
the most unfortunate, often contribute to our happiness. 
In a word, after having formed us in so admirable a 
manner, thou preservest us by a continual series of mi- 

O that the precious though short hours of my earthly 
pilgrimage, — those hours which can never return, — may 
be employed in such a manner as may best answer the 
design of my existence, that when I leave this world I 
may enter into a more blessed state, and be better able 
to fathom the mysteries of nature and grace ! May the 
contemplation of thy wonders, accompanied with the in- 
fluences of thy Holy Spirit, excite me to celebrate thee, 
who art my Creator and Redeemer ! May I praise thee 


through all eternity, who art the Being of beings, and the 
sovereign good of all thy creatures ! 



Although the human body is externally more deli- 
cate than that of other animals, it is nevertheless very 
nervous, and probably stronger in proportion to its size, 
than that of the most vigorous creatures. For, if we 
compare the strength of the lion with that of man, we 
should consider, that this animal being armed with claws, 
we are apt to form a false idea of his strength, by the use 
he makes of them ; and we attribute to his strength what 
properly belongs to his weapons. But there is a better 
method of comparing the strength of men with that of 
animals, and this is by the weight they can carry. Were 
it possible to unite in one point, or to collect into one 
effort, all the particular exertions made by an ordinary 
man in the course of a single day, we should find that 
such a person would be able to lift every day a weight 
equal to 1,728,000 pounds a foot from the ground, 
without any injury to his health. In general, people 
accustomed to hard labour can easily carry a burden of 
150 or 200 pounds weight. And common porters often 
carry burdens from 700 to 800 pounds weight. In 
London, those who work at the quays, in loading and un- 
loading ships, sometimes carry burdens too weighty for 
an ordinary horse. 

The size of a man's body is in proportion to that of a 
horse, as one is to six or seven. If then the strength of 
the horse were in proportion to the strength of a man, 
he would be able to carry a load from 12,000 to 14,000 
pounds weight ; but there is none that can carry such a 
burden ; and it is certain that the horse's strength, if 
not less, is only equal to that of man, the proportion of 
$ize being considered. A learned Frenchman has made 
an experiment to ascertain the strength of the human 
body ; he had a sort of harness made, by means of which 


he placed on every part of a man, standing upright, a 
certain number of weights, so that each part of the body 
supported as much as it could bear, relatively to the rest ; 
and there was no part but what had its due proportion 
of the load. By means of this machine, without being 
at all overburdened, the man carried a weight of 2000 
pounds ! 

We may also judge of the strength of man, by the 
continuance of his exercise, and the lightness of his 
motions. Men who are accustomed to hunting, outrun 
horses, and can bear the exercise longer; and even in 
more moderate exercise, a man accustomed to walk will 
travel each day much farther than a horse can. And 
were each to go only the same number of miles in the 
day, the horse would be found entirely exhausted with 
fatigue, when the man would be capable of continuing 
his journey without any inconvenience. At Ispahan, 
couriers go nearly 130 miles in ten or twelve hours ! 
Travellers inform us that the Hottentots outstrip lions, 
and that the American savages who hunt the Orignal, 
pursue these animals, though as fleet as stags, till they 
tire them down, and catch them. A thousand other 
things are reported of the fleetness of the savages, of the 
long journies which they undertake and accomplish on 
foot, over the most rugged mountains, and through track- 
less, uncultivated deserts. It is said that these men 
perform journies of five or six thousand miles in six weeks 
or two months ! There is no other creature, birds alone 
excepted, that can perform such journies as these. Men 
in a state of civilization do not know their own strength, 
how much they lose by effeminacy, and how much they 
might acquire by habit and vigorous exercise. Some- 
times we meet with men of extraordinary strength ; but 
this gift of nature, which would be so valuable were it 
to be employed in their own defence, or in useful labour, 
is of little advantage in civilized society, where genius 
does more than bodily strength, and where manual labour 
devolves on the lowest orders of society. 

Here again we must acknowledge the admirable wis- 
dom with which God has formed the body, and rendered 
it capable of such activity. But at the same time, we 
should pity those indolent men who spend their lives in 


idleness, sloth, and effeminacy, and who cannot be per- 
suaded to use their strength for fear of injuring their 
health, or destroying their lives! But why has God 
given us such strength, if not to use it ? While then 
we consume it in effeminate sloth, we refuse to obey the 
command of our Creator, and render ourselves guilty of 
unpardonable ingratitude. 

May we henceforward use all our strength for the 
benefit of our fellow-creatures, according to the situation 
in which God has placed us in this world ; and if cir- 
cumstances should require it, let us earn our bread by 
the sweat of our brow. Are we not happier than thou- 
sands of our brethren who are worn out with labour and 
fatigue — who groan under the insupportable yoke of 
slavery — whose honest foreheads are bathed in sweat — 
and who, when their strength is nearly exhausted, have 
no means of procuring any comfort or ease to their 
oppressed bodies. The more happy we find ourselves 
when compared to these, the more we should apply our- 
selves to fill up all our duties ; and the success of our 
labours should lead us to praise God with grateful hearts, 
who has condescended to grant that strength which 
was necessary, and to preserve it to us to the present 



At this season of the year, butterflies begin to disap- 
pear from the creation ; but the race is not extinct. This 
insect lives in its posterity, and by a wonderful instinct 
takes care to provide for the preservation of its species. 
From their eggs new generations spring. But where do 
they lay their eggs at the approach of the inclement 
season ? And how can they protect them from the rains 
of autumn and the frosts of winter ? Are they not in 
danger of being drowned or frozen ? 

That beneficent Being, who gives wisdom to man, has 
also condescended to instruct the butterfly how to secure 


that only legacy which she can. leave to the surviving 
world, by covering over her eggs with a gluey substance, 
which proceeds from her own body. This species of 
glue is so very tenacious that the rain cannot penetrate 
it, and that the ordinary cold of winter cannot kill the 
young ones which are included in the eggs. But it is 
remarkable, that though every species follows the same 
method from generation to generation, yet there is a 
great diversity in the measures which different species 
of the butterfly take for the preservation of their race. 
Naturalists inform us that some of these insects lay 
their eggs in the beginning of autumn, and then die, 
lying over and glued to their dear offspring. The sun, 
which has still considerable power, warms their eggs; 
and before winter, a numerous troop of little caterpillars 
are hatched, which immediately begin to spin, and make 
themselves very spacious nests of this thread, in which 
they pass the cold season without eating, and almost 
without motion. When we open these nests, we find 
that what they have spun serves them for tent, curtains, 
and mattrass. It is still more remarkable that the 
butterfly, as well as other insects, lays its eggs only on 
select plants, such as are suitable to its young, and where 
they may find food whenever it becomes necessary ; thus, 
as soon as they are hatched, they are encompassed with 
those aliments which are fit for them, without being 
obliged to remove before they are able to take long 

All these things, and many others of the same nature, 
are well calculated to cause us to admire the wise plans 
of an all-preserving Providence. If miracles, and things 
absolutely out of the common course of nature, were 
not necessary to affect and render us attentive, the con- 
sideration of that care which these insects take of their 
young (cares so various in the different species, but always 
so regular and uniform in each in particular) would fill 
us with the greatest astonishment. 

Let us, who are rational beings, learn from these little 
creatures to preserve in our hearts a love for our posterity, 
and to interest ourselves effectually for those who are to 
come after us. In the projects and enterprises which 
we form, let us not be discouraged with the thought that 


death may overtake us before we hare accomplished our 
designs. Let us remember what we owe to society ; and 
that we ought at least to take as much concern in what 
relates to posterity, as those who have gone before took 
in matters relative to us. It is particularly the duty of 
parents to learn from the mother butterfly to provide 
for the children which shall survive them, and to place 
them beforehand in the best situation they can. Doubt- 
less we cannot foresee, nor consequently prevent, the 
wants and afflictions to which they may be exposed, 
through unavoidable accidents ; but at least we should 
take care that their condition should not become mise- 
rable through our neglect. Would to God that all 
parents concerned themselves as much as they ought 
with the future happiness of their posterity ; that they 
would not be so imprudent as to leave their families 
in disorder; that they would regulate their domestic 
affairs so well, that after their death their children might 
not be exposed to vexatious embarrassments ; that 
they might not have the mortification to see strangers 
consuming their goods, and enjoying their inheritances ! 


When we turn our attention to the improvements 
which have been made by the human mind in science, 
and the arts of civil life, and which have been published 
in the page of history and in the monuments of ancient 
times ; and also observe the increase and expansion of 
which the understanding and mental powers of man are 
capable, and which they often exhibit ; and then view 
the full standard, summit of perfection, and constant 
sameness and uniformity in the character and conduct of 
all other animals, in all ages; we cannot but be sen- 
sible of the amazing advantages and powers bestowed 
on us by our beneficent Creator, giving us a decided and 
almost unlimited superiority over the several races of 
animated beings which people the earth. 

The science of electricity will serve to illustrate and 
confirm this observation. 

Before the close of the sixteenth century, little more 

vol. n. k 


was known of this science than that amber (in Greek, 
electron), and a few other bodies, when rubbed, acquired 
the power of attracting bits of feathers, silks, and other 
light substances. At that period, it was found that the 
same property belongs to a very great number of bodies, 
and the subject was much investigated during the seven- 
teenth century. A multitude of important discoveries 
relative to the electrical properties of bodies, marked the 
progress of the last and of the present century. 

A peculiar fluid, called the electric fluid, abundant in 
nature, has been exhibited to the senses. By the elec- 
trical machine, it is excited, and accumulated on insulated 
conductors, and may be brought off in a dense visible 
spark, with a snapping noise, striking the hand, if that 
receive it, with considerable force. When powerfully 
excited, a peculiar sulphureous smell is perceived by those 
who are near the machine. 

The grand discovery that certain bodies readily admit 
a passage to the fluid, and that other bodies arrest its 
progress, paved the way to still greater advancements in 
the science. 

Soon after this it appeared, that although different 
bodies, on being rubbed, exhibited similar electrical ap- 
pearances, yet a material difference, in certain circum- 
stances, was evident; the effects of excited vitreous 
substances, and those of resinous ones, counteracting 
each other. It was concluded that there are two electric 
fluids ; but it was afterwards shown that both could be 
obtained from either of the two kinds of substances 
alone. This removed the necessity of supposing the ex- 
istence of two distinct fluids ; yet that notion is still re- 
tained in the opinions of several cultivators of the science. 

It soon became known that the electric power may be 
condensed on the surface of coated electrics, and accu- 
mulated in great quantity by employing an extensive 
surface of coated glass. 

The identity of this fluid and lightning was demon- 
strated ; and hence our knowledge of that wonderful 
and awful phenomenon, the voice of God speaking in 
the clouds, was brought down to our comprehension. By 
this means we are delivered from many shackles of super- 
stition, too frequently imposed by designing men. 


But the progress of the science was not arrested here ; 
the present century opened with the complete develop- 
ment of a new method of exciting this subtile fluid. 
When dissimilar metals are associated, electrical action 
takes place, and particularly so when certain fluids inter- 
vene ; and the accumulated power of many such com- 
binations may be concentrated and conveyed through 
metallic wires or proper conductors. Electricity excited 
in this way, formed a new branch of the science, called 
Galvanism, from the discoverer. 

This discovery has opened a new prospect of the works 
of God in the creation. 

The electric fluid, through the medium of an ap- 
paratus constructed on this principle, is found to separate 
the elements of bodies, conveying those elements to the 
opposite sides of the apparatus. By it, inflammable 
bodies, and even metals themselves, are deflagrated, and 
an intense degree of light and heat produced. 

Thus is our knowledge of the nature of bodies greatly 
extended, the various uses of their several sorts better 
known, and the means of directing our labours to the 
best advantage greatly increased. This science is still 
making rapid advances ; almost every year presents us 
with something new, interesting, and useful in this 
branch of knowledge. 

How lamentable it is that any man should prostitute 
the powers of his intellect to unlawful pursuits, while 
God and nature have furnished ample and useful em- 
ployment for all his faculties ! 

Surely we ought to employ the understanding with 
which God has furnished us to search and know what 
is his will, and how we may please him ; and when we 
consider the vast knowledge of which we are capable, 
we should reflect, that our greatest light is but com- 
parative darkness, and that as yet we only know in part, 
and view only the surfaces of things. 

k 2 



We need only reflect on the vine to be convinced 
that complaints against the inequalities of "the ground 
are ill-founded and unreasonable. The vine never thrives 
in a flat country ; neither does every hill agree with it, 
but only those which look towards the east or south. 
Hills may be considered the bulwarks of nature, which 
she invites us to garnish, as we do our fruit-walls, where 
the strength of the reflected heat is found united to the 
goodness of the open air. The most barren hills, and 
those steep grounds where the plough cannot go, are 
every year covered with the most beautiful verdure, and 
produce the most delicious of all fruits. If the soil that 
nourishes the vine appear so poor and unsightly, the 
plant which produces the vine is not more promising in 
its appearance. Who could have believed that the 
meanest, most deformed, most brittle, and useless wood 
in the world, could have produced a liquor so precious, 
had not experience proved it ? And yet, such is the 
vegetative energy of the vine that the sap flows through 
with six or eight times the force the blood does in the 
veins of animals. Farther, the evaporation of the vine 
is so great that to supply what is exhaled through the 
leaves, 152 inches of sap must rise in this tree in the 
space of twelve hours ! Who has endued the vine with 
qualities so superior to the meanness of its origin, and 
the barrenness of its native soil? Who gave it such 
spirit and energy, which not only preserve it for many 
centuries, but even enable it to acquire new degrees of 
strength ? 

With what wisdom also has God distributed vine- 
yards over the earth ! They do not succeed equally in 
all places ; they require to be situated between the fortieth 
and fiftieth degrees of latitude, about the middle of the 
globe. Asia is properly the country of the vine, whence 
its cultivation has gradually extended to Europe. The 
Phoenicians, who travelled very early over all the coasts 

THE VINE. 197 

of the Mediterranean Sea, brought it to most of the isles 
and to the continent. It succeeded wonderfully in the 
isles of the Archipelago, and was thence carried into 
Italy. The vine was there greatly multiplied ; and the 
Gauls, having once tasted this liquor, determined to pos- 
sess the country where it was produced ; they therefore 
passed the Alps, and conquered both sides of the Po. 
Shortly after, the vine was cultivated in every part of 
France ; and at last, ,on the banks of the Rhine, the 
Moselle, and the Neckar, and in other parts of Germany. 

These observations may give rise to many important 
reflections. As the most barren soils are the best for 
the cultivation of the vine; so it often happens that 
countries the most impoverished are most favourable to 
the cultivation of the arts and sciences. In provinces 
universally despised for their poverty, men of genius 
have arisen, whose knowledge has illuminated other 
countries. There is no place so desert, no town so small, 
no village so despicable, in which certain branches of 
science may not be cultivated with success. Encourage- 
ment is all that is wanting. And how abundantly useful 
might we be, did we take a little pains to promote, as 
much as possible, the cultivation of the human heart ! 
Sovereigns, preachers, instructors of youth, how much 
might you contribute to the happiness of your contem- 
poraries and posterity, if, by rewards, exhortations, use- 
ful establishments, and similar encouragements, you 
would endeavour to bring back religion, science, and the 
social virtues, into ruined cities and wretched villages ! 
Efforts for these purposes are never entirely useless. 
Either we meet the recompence ourselves, or our de- 
scendants gather the fruits of them. At least we shall 
be classed with those respectable men, who, in becoming 
the benefactors of the human race, secure the approba- 
tion of God, and the blessing of their fellow-creatures. 

The vine, with its dry and shapeless wood, is an em- 
blem of those who, though destitute of the outward 
splendour of birth and dignity, are, nevertheless, exceed- 
ingly: useful. How often does it happen that men who 
live in obscurity, and whose external appearance pro- 
raises nothing, perform actions and execute enterprises 


which elevate them far beyond the sovereigns of the 
earth ! Let us here reflect on Jesus Christ himself; to 
judge of him, from the abject state in which he appeared, 
we should never have expected such great and astonish- 
ing miracles, and works so beneficial to the human race. 
This Jesus, who like the unpromising vine was planted 
in a barren soil, has borne fruit for the blessing and sal- 
vation of the whole earth ! He has showed us that a 
man may be poor, despised, and miserable in this world ; 
and, nevertheless, successfully labour for the glory of 
God, and the good of mankind. 



Praise our God ! Let all people celebrate him with 
songs of joy ! Sing aloud, and magnify his power and 
goodness ! Adore him ! Bow down before Him ! Cele- 
brate, exalt, and glorify the King of nations ! 

It is he by whose power the elements, the heavens, and 
the light have been drawn out of nothing ; who has 
separated the earth from the surrounding waters ; his 
hand formed the sea, and that innumerable host of crea- 
tures which live oh his bounty. 

It is He who has given heat and light to the sun ; 
who has regulated the phases of the moon; who has 
taught the planets their course ; who blazes in the 
lightning, and who speaks in the thunder ! 

He is heard in the roaring of the tempest. The 
strength of the lion, and the organization of the insect, 
are monuments of his power ; and to please men, he 
has taught the nightingale to form her melodious notes. 

He gives to flowers their balsamic odours ; he weighs 
the air, and puts it in motion ; he calls forth the winds, 
and directs them in their course. The sea, which roars 
at the word of his power, obeys, and stands still at his 
threatening. God reigns in the depths of the abyss. 

Being of beings ! How manifest is thy magnificence 

wonders which god performs daily. 199 

in thy creatures ! Among them the traces of thy power 
are marvellous ! All creation proclaims thee — everything 
says unto me : " Contemplate and magnify thy Maker." 
I hasten, O my Creator.and Master, to bring thee my 
tribute of adoration and thanksgiving. Come, ye dif- 
ferent creatures, unite with me to celebrate the Creator. 
Let us bow down before, and adore him. God, who has 
formed the universe, deserves our homage. 


The universe, which still subsists in all its beauty, 
and in that order in which it was first established, is a 
miracle which we have constantly before us. What an 
astonishing world is this which we inhabit ! How great 
the number, the magnificence, the variety, and the beauty 
of the creatures it contains ! What other hand than 
that of the Omnipotent could have placed in this immense 
expanse the sun and stars, whose magnitude, and pro- 
digious distance from us, astonish the imagination ! Who 
has assigned them the path they have walked in for so 
many thousands of years ? Who has calculated so ex- 
actly the respective powers of all these globes ; and who 
has established so perfect a balance between them and 
the ether which supports them ? Who has placed the 
earth at such a due distance from the sun, that it is 
neither too near nor too far off? The vicissitudes of 
day and night, the revolutions of the- seasons, the innu- 
merable multitude of animals, reptiles, trees and plants, 
which the earth produces, are all the work of God. If 
a world so admirable were now created before our eyes, 
who would not consider it as one of the greatest miracles 
of the Divine omnipotence ? 

The particular providence of God is a continual proof 
of his greatness, power, wisdom, and omnipresence. 
The continual care which God takes of men, and his 
marked attention to each, of which every person has the 
most particular proofs ; the various methods he uses to 
bring men to himself; the paths by which he leads them 
to happiness ; the adversities he makes use of to awaken 
and bring them to the knowledge of themselves ; the 


extraordinary events which he improves to the advantage 
of his government ; events which are generally produced 
by trivial causes, and in circumstances which seem to 
render them impossible ; the great changes which he 
operates to spread the knowledge of his gospel from one 
country to another ; — these are so many effects in which 
we ought to acknowledge the ever active hand of God, 
and cry out with the Psalmist, " This is the Lord's doing ; 
and it is marvellous in our eyes." 

Let us only be attentive to what passes before us, and 
we shall find God everywhere ; we shall see that in all 
the ordinary means of grace he is incessantly labouring 
for our salvation ; that his word dwells among us ; and 
we may constantly hear his saving voice. Surely, those 
who refuse to hear him, and resist the motions of his 
Spirit, who yield not to his merciful operations, would 
not turn though new miracles were wrought before their 
eyes. Man, who considers that God has created this 
world, which everywhere presents so many wonders to 
him ; man, who is every moment loaded with the bless- 
ings of the Lord, and who has received from him all the 
comforts he enjoys ; ought he not to believe in, love, and 
obey him ? Yet he resists. What can affect him ? 
Whom will he not oppose ? 

We, who are daily witnesses of the wonders of our 
God, should be attentive to them ; and not shut our 
hearts against the truth. Let not prejudice and passion 
prevent us from meditating on the wonderful works of 
God. Let us contemplate this visible world, and reflect 
on ourselves, and we shall find constant reason to ac- 
knowledge him, who works so many miracles every day 
before our eyes. Occupied with these great ideas, and 
struck with astonishment and admiration, we shall then 
cry out, "Praise, honour, and glory be ascribed unto 
God, the Supreme Good, and the Redeemer of our souls ! 
To that God who alone works wonders; to that God 
who fills the hearts of his people with the sweetest con- 
solations ; to him who assuages our pains, comforts us in 
our afflictions, and who wipes away all tears from our 
eyes ; to him be glory for ever and ever !" Amen. 



Digestion is a wonderful and complex business, which 
we perform daily without knowing how, and without 
even giving ourselves the least trouble to understand 
what is most remarkable and essential in so important a 
function of the human body. Millions take their food 
daily without ever having thought, even once in their 
life, what becomes of it after it has been swallowed. It 
is well for us that digestion may be carried on without 
our perceiving how it is effected ; but is it not desirable 
to have some idea of the operations of nature in this 
respect ? 

After the food is chewed, divided into very small 
parts by the teeth, and moistened, it is prepared to pass 
into the oesophagus or gullet. This is the last function 
relative to digestion in which our wills have any part, 
for all the rest is performed without our knowledge ; nor 
could we prevent it, if we even wished to do so. As 
soon as a bit is brought into the oesophagus, it thrusts it 
forward by a mechanism peculiar to itself, and forces it 
into the stomach, whither its own gravity could not 
carry it. When the food is brought into the stomach, it 
is there reduced, by some peculiar means, into a soft 
paste, of a greyish colour ; which, after being sufficiently 
attenuated, passes into the first intestine, which is called 
the duodenum. In this the alimentary mass undergoes 
new changes. Several small vessels, which proceed from 
the gall-bladder, and from a gland situated behind the 
bottom of the stomach called the pancreas, open into 
the duodenum, and pour the bile and pancreatic juice 
into it, which are there mixed with the food. 

Besides these, there are a multitude of glands in the 
intestines, which diffuse their humours through every 
part of the alimentary mass. It is after this mixture 
that the true chyle is discovered among this mass ; and 
there is much reason to believe that digestion is com- 
pleted and perfected in the duodenum. 

k 3 


The alimentary mass continues its course through the 
other intestines, where it is continually moistened by 
the juices which are secreted in their cavities. The 
chyle begins then to pass into the lacteal vessels, which 
open everywhere through the intestines, and terminate 
in the receptacle of the chyle. This is situated in that 
part of the back where the first and second lumbar 
vertebras commence ; from it the thoracic duct proceeds, 
which runs along the spina dorsi, and opens into the 
back side of the left subclavian vein, near the outside of 
the internal jugular. The chyle flows through this 
canal ; and in order to mix with the blood, it is received 
into the heart, and dispersed by the arteries and veins 
all over the body, losing its white or greyish colour in 
this circulation. 

But there are always some parts of the food which 
are too gross to be converted into chyle, or to enter into 
the lacteal vessels. What becomes of these ? The in- 
testines have a peristaltic or vermicular motion, by means 
of which they alternately contract and dilate, and thus 
push downward the matter they contain. This motion 
having caused the alimentary mass to pass into the third 
intestine, protrudes the residuum through the fourth, 
fifth, and sixth successively. This substance, which 
may be considered as the husks of the aliments, having 
arrived at the end of the rectum, or last large intestine, 
would be slowly and continually evacuated, which would 
be a terrible inconvenience, had not nature encompassed 
the mouth of this bowel with a muscle, called the 
sphincter, which contracts and keeps it shut. Thus the 
residuum of each digestion is accumulated in the rectum, 
and there continues till the quantity, and the irritation 
which it occasions, indicate the necessity of parting 
with the whole. Then the muscles of the abdomen 
and diaphragm, assisting the action of the rectum, sur- 
mount the resistance of the sphincter, and the super- 
fluous matter is expelled 

This is a slight sketch of the manner in which diges- 
tion is performed in our body ; digestion, so essential to 
our health, our comfort, and even our very existence. 
Let us consider how evidently the wisdom of God ap- 
pears in all this. What wonderful circumstances must 


concur in order to accomplish this end ! The stomach 
must not only have an inward heat and a dissolving 
fluid, but also a peristaltic motion, by which the food is 
attenuated, and reduced into a soft paste, and afterwards 
converted into chyle ; which, being distributed through 
all the members of the body, supplies them with blood 
and nourishment. The saliva, or spittle, is also neces- 
sary, which has the property of soap, and the virtue of 
mixing together oily and aqueous matters. There must 
be also, through the whole course of the intestines, 
certain machines which separate the various necessary 
humours from the blood, that the aliments may be suffi- 
ciently elaborated, and the chyle brought to perfection. 
The tongue, the muscles of the cheek, the teeth, and 
other organs beside, must all concur to divide, grind, 
and attenuate the aliments before they descend into the 
stomach. How much wisdom is discovered in this ! 
How inexcusable should we be, were Ave inattentive to 
these wonders, and not excited by them to glorify our 
Creator ! 



Nothing is better calculated to comfort us, in the 
afflictions and trials which we meet with in this life, 
than admitting as a fixed principle, that there is more 
good than evil in the world. Let us consult the most 
wretched man, and ask him if he can reckon up as many 
causes of complaint as he has motives for gratitude ? 
He would soon find, that however great his afflictions 
may be, they are not equal to the multitude of mercies 
which he has received in the course of his life. 

To render this truth still more evident, let us reckon 
how many days we have enjoyed health, and how very 
few we have been sick. To the few troubles and dis- 
appointments which we have met with in civil and 
domestic life, let us oppose the many comforts they have 
afforded us. Compare all the good and innocent actions 


by which the greater part of men render themselves 
useful, either to themselves or to their fellows, with the 
small number of those which may be termed injurious. 
Let us reckon, if possible, all the agreeable sensations 
which each sense affords us. Let us number all the 
pleasures which belong to every age, state, and pro- 
fession; all the gifts which nature bestows in such 
abundance, and which human industry knows how to 
use, so as to procure an infinity of pleasures and conve- 
niences. Let us reckon the pleasure we felt when we 
escaped or surmounted any danger; when we gained 
any victory over ourselves, or did some wise or virtuous 
action. Let us reckon all these blessings, the enjoyment 
of which we can recollect, and consider how few of our 
past mercies we can remember. Let us also consider, 
that it is only the habit of receiving good which renders 
us at all sensible of evil ; that new blessings cause us to 
forget those that are past ; and that if the evils we meet 
with make so deep an impression upon our minds, it is 
precisely because they occur seldom, and we are not 
accustomed to them. 

Let us reckon the happy occurrences which we may 
remember, and which, by the way, make but the smallest 
part of the whole good we have enjoyed, and let us 
oppose them to the evils we remember, the great utility 
of which we do not yet know. I do not say all the 
evils we may remember, for I do not speak of those 
which, according to our own confession, have enhanced 
our blessings, and have been the source of many and 
great advantages. I do not speak of those little evils 
which are preservatives from greater ones, and which 
are dispensed to men to make them better and happier, 
or to instruct others by their example ; for evils of this 
kind are compensated by their advantageous conse- 
quences to mankind. In the calculation I wish to make, 
we must only oppose, to the blessings which we recollect, 
those evils the usefulness of which we do not yet know; 
and I aver, that if we make this computation in moments 
of coolness and serenity, and not in the time of disap- 
pointment, vexation, or affliction, we shall be fully con- 
vinced that the blessings we enjoy in this world vastly 
overbalance all the evils we meet with. 


Why, then, do men think so little of the continual 
proofs which they receive of the goodness of God ? Why 
do they love to dwell on the gloomy side of things, and 
torment themselves with unreasonable cares and inquie- 
tudes ? Does not Divine Providence surround us with 
pleasing objects ? Why, then, fix our eyes continually 
on our infirmities, on what we want, and on evils which 
may possibly happen ? Why magnify them in our ima- 
gination, and obstinately turn away our eyes from what 
might make us easy and cheerful ? But thus it is ; the 
least affliction we meet with arrests our whole attention, 
whilst a long series of happy days slips away without 
being noticed. We draw distresses and vexations on 
ourselves, which could never take place were we more 
attentive to God's blessings. Let us abandon a line of 
conduct so well calculated to make us wretched. Let 
us be fully assured, that God has dispensed his blessings 
over the earth with an impartial hand ; that there is no 
man upon earth that has any real cause of complaint, 
but, on the contrary, the most numerous reasons for 
songs of gratitude, thanksgiving, and praise. 

" Blessed be that God who is our sovereign good ! 
He fills our hearts with joy and gladness. If he try us 
sometimes by afflictions, his consolations soon cheer our 
souls, and his goodness condescends to promise us a 
happiness unclouded and without end. He leads us by 
secret and unknown paths to the infinite blessings he 
designs us. Even the trials which he now and then 
sends are intended to accomplish the most beneficent 
ends, which we shall one day gratefully acknowledge. 
In the mean time, he permits us not to be tried above 
our strength; his powerful and paternal hand still 
protects us, and the eye of his mercy is ever open 
upon us. 




There is a constant enmity between animals; they 
attack and pursue each other continually. Every element 
is to them a field of battle : the eagle is the terror of the 
inhabitants of the air ; the tiger lives by carnage on the 
earth ; the pike, in the waters ; and the mole, under the 
earth. It is the want of food which induces these and 
other animals to destroy one another. But there is an 
antipathy between certain creatures which does not 
proceed from the same cause. It is manifest, for ex- 
ample, that the animals which twist themselves about 
the elephant's trunk, and never give over till they have 
stifled him, do not do it in order to procure themselves 
food. When the ermine leaps up, and fixes itself in 
the ear of the deer or elk, and bites them with its sharp 
teeth, it cannot be said that these hostilities have been 
occasioned by hunger. But there is not an animal on 
the earth, how small soever it may be, that does not 
serve for food to some other animal. 

I know well, that there are some persons to whom 
this arrangement of nature appears cruel and improper ; 
but I do not hesitate to assert, that even this antipathy, 
and the enmity which exists among animals, furnish an 
excellent proof that all is well ordered. Take animals 
in the gross, and it is certainly an advantage that some 
should prey on others ; for, on one hand, a number of 
species could not exist without this, and, on the other, 
those numerous species, far from being injurious, are 
useful to the others. Insects and many reptiles feed on 
carrion. Others fix their abode in the bodies of certain 
animals, and feed on their flesh and blood ; and those 
same insects are food for other creatures. Carnivorous 
animals and birds of prey kill and feed on other animals. 
Some kinds multiply so prodigiously, that they would 
become oppressive were not this increase interrupted. 
"Were there no sparrows to devour these insects, what 
would become of flowers and fruits? Without the 


ichneumon, which seeks and devours the crocodile' 
eggs, this formidable animal would multiply to an alarm- 
ing degree. 

A great part of the earth would be desert, and many 
species of creatures could not exist, were there no carni- 
vorous animals. Perhaps it might be said that they 
would feed on vegetables ; but were this the case, our 
fields could scarcely produce herbage enough for spar- 
rows and swallows. Besides, the structure of the bodies 
of carnivorous animals must be different from what it 
is now ; and .how could fish, for instance, find subsist- 
ence, were they not to live on the inhabitants of the 
waters ? There is reason, also, to suppose that animals 
would lose a great deal of their vivacity and industry, 
were it not for the continual wars among them. The 
creation would be less animated, beasts would become 
stupid, and man himself lose a great part of that activity 
which is now employed against the incursions of de- 
structive animals. Finally, many striking proofs of the 
wisdom of God would be wanting, were there a universal 
peace among animals ; for the cunning, sagacity, and 
wonderful instinct with which they lay snares for and 
surprise their prey sufficiently point out the wisdom of 
the Creator. 

So far, then, is the enmity among animals from casting 
a shade over the wisdom and goodness of God, that 
these perfections shine with new lustre from this very 
circumstance. It seems to have entered into the plan 
of creation, that certain animals should feed upon others. 
We might, indeed, complain of this plan, if the entire 
destruction of any species should be the result ; but this 
never happens; and the constant wars among animals 
are, on the contrary, the real cause of preserving a perfect 
balance. Thus carnivorous animals are the indispensable 
connecting links in the chain of beings ; and on this very 
account their number is small, compared with that of 
useful animals. 

It is further worth remarking, that the strongest and 
most savage animals have commonly less understanding 
and cunning than the others ; they either destroy each 
other reciprocally, or their young become food for other 
beasts. Hence it is that nature has endowed the weakest 


animals with so much industry, and so many means of 
defence. They have that instinct, delicacy of sense, 
swiftness, address, and cunning necessary to counter- 
halance the strength of their enemies. Is there any 
who cannot hehold in this the infinite wisdom of the 
Creator ? Or who will not acknowledge that the state 
of warfare among animals, which at first sight appears 
so strange, is nevertheless a real good ? We should he 
still more convinced of this, could we take in the whole 
system of things, and the relations and connexions which 
the different creatures have with each other. 

But this degree of knowledge is reserved for the other 
world, where the Divine perfections shall be manifested 
to us in their infinite splendour. Yet even in this world 
we may he able, in some sort, to comprehend why this 
hostility among animals is necessary. But it is abso- 
lutely incomprehensible, why divisions and destructive 
wars should reign among men, the most noble of all 
creatures. Alas, it must be confessed, to the scandal of 
humanity, that men are found who even dare to profess 
the Christian religion, while more ferocious and destruc- 
tive than the most savage beasts: their hostilities are 
more multiplied, and they make use of means the most 
dexterous and secret to destroy each other. Lions, 
tigers, and vultures are lambs and doves when compared 
to man. Nothing can be more foreign to the merciful 
design of God than this. His intention was, that each 
man should render himself useful to his fellow-creatures, 
and contribute as much as possible to their comfort and 
happiness ; that he should be their defender, benefactor, 
guardian, and God : in a word, that every man should 
render to another all the good offices within the limits of 
his power. Let none of us counteract these merciful 
designs of the Lord, but let us endeavour to live below 
in peace and concord. Let animals destitute of reason 
persecute, hate, and destroy one another; but let us follow 
the example of Jesus Christ, and endeavour to render 
each other happy. 



The days begin to shorten, and the nights grow long ; 
and many people are discontented with this arrangement 
of nature. They perhaps secretly wish that there were 
no night ; or at least, that the nights were all the year 
round as short as they are in June and July. But such 
wishes are unreasonable, and betray our own ignorance. 
If we would take the trouble to reflect on the advan- 
tages which result from the vicissitudes of day and night, 
we should not be so precipitate in our judgments, nor 
make such groundless complaints ; but rather acknow- 
ledge the usefulness of the plan, and bless God for it. 

First, what is Avell calculated to make us perceive the 
moral utility of the night is this, that it interrupts 
the progress of most vices ; or at least of those which 
are most injurious to society. Darkness obliges the 
wicked man to take rest, and procures some hours of 
relief to oppressed virtue. The unjust or fraudulent 
merchant ceases during the night to cheat his neighbour ; 
and when darkness arrives, a thousand disorders are 
arrested. Were men to be twice as long awake as they 
are at present, to what a frightful degree would evil 
actions of every kind be multiplied ? The wicked, by 
giving themselves up uninterruptedly to vice, would ac- 
quire a horrible facility of sinning. In a word, we may 
assert that the longer the nights are, the fewer crimes 
are committed in the space of the twenty-four hours; 
and this is certainly not one of the least advantages 
which we derive from the night. 

Of how much instruction and mental pleasure should 
we be deprived were there no night ! The wonders of 
creation which the starry heavens present, would be lost 
to us. But as each night shows us the magnificence of 
God in the stars, we may raise up our hearts to him, 
and feel more sensibly our own littleness. If every 
occurrence which reminds us of God should be precious 
to us, how ought we to love the night, which proclaims 


to us in so energetic a manner the perfections of God ! 
Did we pay proper attention to this subject, no night 
would appear too long ; each would be beneficial to us ; 
and one spent in meditating on the works of God might 
hare the happiest influence over our future life. Let us 
therefore contemplate attentively that immense theatre 
of the wonders of God, which the night discovers to us. 
A single good thought which this grand sight may occa- 
sion ; a thought with which we may go to sleep, and 
with which we may awake ; with which we may enter- 
tain ourselves during the course of the day, may be of 
the utmost utility to our understanding and to our 

In general night is a very advantageous time for those 
who love to meditate, and to use self-examination. The 
tumult and dissipation, in which we commonly live 
during the day, leave us but too little time for recollec- 
tion, for detaching our affections from the earth, and for 
occupying ourselves seriously about our latter end, and 
the duties of our station. The tranquillity of the night 
invites us to and assists us in these serious occupations. 
We may then, without interruption, converse with our 
hearts, and acquire the important science of self-know- 
ledge. Our souls may collect all their powers, and direct 
them to the objects which relate to our eternal happiness. 
We may then banish the evil impressions which we re- 
ceived from the world, and get our souls fortified against 
the seducing examples of the age. This is the time in 
which we may meditate on death without distraction, 
and employ ourselves in the great concerns of the eter- 
nal world. The tranquil solitude of our closets is favour- 
able to religious thoughts, and will inspire us with an 
ardent desire, to be more and more occupied in this sa- 
cred work. 

Let all the nights with which God may bless us, be 
sanctified by these salutary meditations. Then, far from 
murmuring at the vicissitudes of night and day, we 
shall praise God for them, and bless the night in which 
we have learned to know our own wretchedness better, 
the glory of the Lord, and the things which pertain to 
our eternal peace. 




Whence is it that men are so indifferent about the 
works of God in nature ? An answer to this question 
may give rise to various important reflections. 

The first cause of this indifference is inattention. We 
are so accustomed to the beauties of nature that we 
neglect to admire that wisdom, the impress of whicii 
they bear ; and are not as grateful as we ought to be for 
the innumerable advantages which we derive from them. 
There are too many people who resemble the stupid 
beast who feeds on the herbs of the field, and quenches 
his thirst at the stream, without ever reflecting whence 
these blessings which he enjoys proceed ; and without 
acknowledging the goodness and wisdom of Him who 
bestows them. Thus, men, though endowed with the 
most excellent faculties, by which they are enabled to 
participate more of the blessings of nature, seldom think 
of the source whence they flow. And even where the 
wisdom and goodness of God are the most strikingly 
manifest, they are little affected, because they are so 
accustomed to the displays of his power ; habit renders 
them indifferent and insensible, instead of exciting their 
admiration and gratitude. 

A second cause of this indifference in many people is 
ignorance. How many are there who are wholly unac- 
quainted with the most common phenomena of nature ? 
They see the sun rising and setting every day: their 
fields are moistened sometimes with rain and dew, and 
sometimes with snow. The most wonderful revolutions 
take place under their notice every spring, but they give 
themselves no trouble to inquire into the causes and pur- 
poses of these phenomena, in respect to which they live 
in the most profound ignorance. It is true, there are a 
thousand things which will ever be incomprehensible to 
us, however diligently we may study ; nor are we more 
sensible of the limited state of our knowledge, than 


when we endeavour to fathom the operations of nature. 
But we may at least acquire historical knowledge of 
them ; and the meanest labourer may comprehend how 
it comes to pass that the seed which he sows in the 
ground buds and springs up, if he will take but a little 
trouble to inform himself on the subject. 

Thirdly, others disdain nature's operations, because 
they are wholly employed in their private interests. I 
am satisfied these would be more attentive observers of 
nature, if, for instance, spiders spun threads of gold ; 
if lobsters contained pearls, and if the daisy possessed 
the virtue of restoring old men to youth. In general, we 
value things only according to interest or fancy. The 
objects which do not immediately and sensibly gratify 
our inordinate desires, we judge unworthy our attention. 
Our self-love is so unreasonable, and we know so little 
of our true interests, that we despise the things which 
are of the greatest use. Corn, for instance, is of all 
other plants the most indispensably necessary to our sub- 
sistence ; and, nevertheless, we see whole fields covered 
with this very useful production of nature, without paying 
proper attention to it. 

Fourthly, many neglect the contemplation of nature 
through indolence : they are too fond of ease to take a 
few hours from their sleep to contemplate the starry 
heavens : they cannot persuade themselves to rise early 
in order to see the rising sun ; they dread the fatigue of 
stooping to the ground to observe the admirable art 
which appears in the formation of the grass. And yet 
these very people, who are so fond of their ease and com- 
fort, are full of ardour and activity when the gratifi- 
cation of their passions is the object. It would be a 
kind of martyrdom to the intemperate man, and to the 
gamester, to be obliged to consecrate those hours which 
they spend in drunkenness and gaming, to the contem- 
plation of a beautiful starry sky. A man who loves 
walking, and would go many miles on foot to see a 
friend, would take it very ill to be obliged to go two 
miles to observe some singularity of nature. 

Fifthly, Others neglect the works of God in nature 
through a principle of irreligion. They do not wish to 
know the greatness of God. They have no taste for 


piety, nor for the duties it prescribes. To praise and 
lore God, to be grateful to him for the benefits he has 
conferred on them, would be to them disagreeable and 
painful duties. We hare too much reason to believe 
that this is one of the principal causes of that indiffer- 
ence which many have for the works of God. If they 
valued the knowledge of God above all things, they 
would eagerly embrace every opportunity of establishing 
themselves in that knowledge, and of perfecting their 
love to their Creator. 

Two-thirds, probably, of mankind may be ranked in 
the different classes which we have already pointed out. 
At least, it is certain that there are very few who study 
_the works of God in a proper manner, and delight in 
them. This is a melancholy truth, the proof of which 
is daily exhibited. Would to God that we could at last 
be convinced how ill it becomes men to be thus insen- 
sible of and inattentive to the works of the Creator ; and 
how by this conduct they degrade and debase themselves 
below the very brutes ! What ! have we eyes, and shall 
we not contemplate the beauties which everywhere sur- 
round us ? Have we ears, and shall we not listen to the 
hymns which every part of the creation sings to the 
praise of the Lord ? We wish to see him in the king 
dom of his glory; and shall we refuse to contemplate 
him here below in his admirable works ? Let us re- 
nounce an indifference so criminal, and endeavour hence- 
forth to feel something of that joy which David felt as 
often as he reflected on the works, the magnificence, and 
the glory of his Creator ! 



When the sky is pretty clear, we often observe a 
circular light, or large luminous ring, round the moon, 
which is called a halo or crown. Its outline has often 
the faint colours of the rainbow. The moon is in the 
centre of this ring, and the intermediate space is gene- 
rally darker than the rest of the sky. When the moon 


is at the full, and high above the horizon, the ring ap- 
pears most luminous. It is often of a considerable size. 
We must not imagine that this circle is really round the 
moon ; we must seek the reason of it in our own atmo- 
sphere, the vapours of which cause a refraction of the 
rays of light which penetrate them, properly adapted to 
produce this effect. 

There appear sometimes, around or on one side of the 
real moon, some false ones, which are called paraselenes, 
or mock moons. These are apparently of the same size 
of the moon ; but their light is paler. They are gene- 
rally accompanied with circles, some of which are co- 
loured like the rainbow, others are white, and several 
have long luminous tails. All these phenomena are only 
illusions produced by refraction. The light of the moon 
falling on aqueous and sometimes frozen vapours, is re- 
fracted in various ways ; the separated rays appear co- 
loured, and, reaching the eye of the spectator, double 
the image of the moon. Sometimes, but such appear- 
ances are very rare, we see in moonlight, after a heavy 
fall of rain, a lunar rainbow, which has exactly the same 
colours of the solar rainbow, only fainter. This is also 
occasioned by the refraction of the rays of light. 

When sulphureous and other vapours take fire in the 
higher atmosphere, we often observe streaks of light 
dart swiftly like rockets. When these vapours collect in 
a mass, take fire, and fall down, we think we see little 
balls of fire falling from the sky; and as, from their dis- 
tance, they appear about the size of stars, they are on 
this account called falling stars. The common people 
think they are real stars, which change their places, or 
are dissipated, or purified. Sometimes these imaginary 
stars are very brilliant, and magnificently coloured ; de- 
scend slowly, always acquiring new lustre, till at last 
they are extinguished in the vapours of the lower atmo- 
sphere, and falling on the earth, leave, as is supposed, a 
gluey, viscous substance behind them. Great globes of 
fire have sometimes been seen more luminous than the 
full moon, with long tails. They are probably sulphu- 
reous and nitrous vapours, which accumulate and take 
fire ; for they traverse the atmosphere with great velo- 
city, and afterwards burst with a loud noise. Some- 


times, when the inflammable particles of which they are 
composed are of a different nature, they disperse without 
noise in the higher regions of the atmosphere. 

The little flashes, which we see so often in the sum • 
mer evenings after intense heat, are produced by vapours 
in the atmosphere, which are less visible because they 
are higher up. This meteor is distinguished from real 
lightning by its never being accompanied with thunder. 
It is probable, however, that these flashes are the reflec- 
tion of lightning, which is at too great a distance for us 
to hear the peal of thunder with which it is accom- 
panied. For a flash at the height of a mile may be 
seen at the distance of more than one hundred miles, 
and its reflection further still, though the thunder can 
scarcely be heard further off than ten or twelve miles. 

The flying dragon, the dancing goat, the burning 
beam, and various other meteors, owe their odd names 
to their singular appearance. They are only gross and 
viscous exhalations, which ferment in the humid regions 
of the lower air ; and which, being pressed in different 
directions by the agitated atmosphere, assume different 
forms, to which the common people give those extraor- 
dinary names. Several naturalists have imitated these 
in miniature, by mixing certain inflammable substances 

Of all the nocturnal phenomena, none is more remark- 
able, or on the whole more brilliant, than the Aurora 
Borealis, or northern lights ; they are seen generally from 
the beginning of autumn till ^ the commencement of 
spring, when the weather is clear and serene, and the 
moon does not give too much light. 

The Aurora Borealis has not always the same appear- 
ance. It is usually towards midnight that a brightness, 
similar to the dawn of day, begins to appear. Some- 
times we observe streaks, and sudden jets of light, with 
white and luminous clouds in perpetual motion. But 
when this meteor is to be exhibited in all its perfection, 
we generally see, if the weather be calm and clear, 
towards the north, a thick and dark cloud, the upper 

Sart of which is edged with a white and luminous bor- 
er, which emits rays, brilliant jets, and resplendent 
pillars; which, arising from moment to moment, grow 


yellow and red ; afterwards meet, unite, and form a thick 
and luminous cloud ; and finally terminate in variously 
coloured clouds, white, blue, fiery red, and the most 
beautiful purple ; whence rays of light are continually 
shooting out. At such a time, the Aurora Borealis is in 
all its pomp and splendour. 

How great is the magnificence of God! Even the 
night itself proclaims his majesty. How can we com- 
plain that at this season the nights are gradually in- 
creasing in length, seeing they present us with such 
magnificent sights, as interest both our minds and hearts? 
The phenomena of which we have spoken render the 
long nights of the inhabitants of the northern nations 
not only supportable, but even brilliant and pleasing. 

Our nights, which are much shorter, might, neverthe- 
less, afford us diversified pleasures, would we pay a pro- 
per attention to such phenomena. May we accustom 
ourselves to raise not only our eyes but our hearts to 
heaven ! May we soar beyond moons and stars to thee 
our Creator; that we may reflect on thy majesty, and 
silently adore thee when our eye is struck with the 
magnificent spectacle of the night ! " For thou, O Lord, 
art great : the silence of the night loudly proclaims thy 
power and love. The moon in azure plains announces 
thy majesty ! The host of stars which burn in the fir- 
mament celebrate and praise thee ! The mild light of 
the Aurora Borealis, which we see above our heads, dis- 
covers the perfections of our God ! 



This seems to be one of the most impenetrable mys- 
teries in nature. For several centuries the most eminent 
naturalists have neglected nothing to find out how the 
generation of man is effected ; but even to the present 
time, we have nothing on the subject but conjectures. 
The following seem to be nearest the truth. 

The seminal liquor is properly what fecundates the 


in the mothers womb; the matrix or womb itself 
is the place in which this fecundation takes place. This 
liquor is included in the seminal vessels, and by the as- 
sistance of a microscope we can discover long and regu- 
lar bodies, which seem to be divided into an infinity of 
little globes. On each side the matrix there is a sub- 
stance of an oval form, which is supposed to be the 
ovaries ; and in which certain round vessels are found, 
full of clear lymph. When the most spirituous parts of 
the seminal liquor have penetrated the ovaries, fecunda- 
tion takes place. The impregnated egg then detaches 
itself from the ovaries, falls into the matrix, and remains 
there till all is matured. Possibly the embryo may 
exist in miniature in the egg before impregnation, and 
the seminal liquor may answer no other end than merely 
to stir up, animate, and put the principle of motion into 
play, and so dispose it to unfold itself by means of the 

However the business of conception may be effected, 
it is a fact, that shortly after impregnation the growth 
of the foetus becomes sensible. Three days after, a small 
bladder of, an oval form is found in the matrix; the 
membrane of which it is formed is extremely fine, and 
it is filled with a limpid fluid, very nearly resembling 
the white of an egg. In this, some small connected 
fibres may be seen, which are the first rudiments of the 
foetus. Seven days after, a little oblong mass may be 
seen ; from the centre of which some fibres proceed, 
which are the first rudiments of the umbilical cord. 
Fifteen days after conception, the nose appears like a little 
prominent thread, the mouth like a line, the eyes like 
two black points, and the ears like two small holes : the 
arms and legs also begin to appear, like small protuber- 
ances. At the end of twenty-one days, the arms and 
legs are easily distinguished, the ribs, fingers, and toes 
appear like little threads. In one month the fcetus is 
an inch long, and lies in a crooked posture in the sur- 
rounding fluid, and the human form is very perceptible. 
The toes and the fingers are distinct from each other ; 
the skin is extremely fine and transparent; the viscera 
are like fine threads ; the bones still soft ; the vessels 
which are to form the umbilical cord are as yet in a 



straight line, alongside of each other. The placenta 
occupies no more than the third of the whole mass, 
whereas at the first it occupied one half; but it has now 
increased much in thickness and solidity. The whole 
mass is still of an oral form, being in its longest diameter 
an inch and half, and in its shortest an inch and a quar- 
ter : the two little skins become more and more apparent. 
In six weeks the human form becomes perfect ; only the 
head is longer than the proportion it should bear to the 
rest of the body. About this time the heart may be 
seen to move ; and at this stage it has been known to 
beat a considerable time after it had been separated from 
the mother s womb. In two months the foetus is two 
inches long ; the ossification is evident in the legs and 
arms, and in the point of the lower jaw, which at this 
time projects much beyond the upper one ; the umbili- 
cal cord also about this time begins to turn and twist, 
Three months after conception, the foetus is nearly three 
inches long ; and is from six to seven, in four months 
and a half. Then the nails appear. If it be a male, the 
testicles may be seen inclosed in the belly below the 
reins. The stomach is filled with a certain thickish fluid, 
something like that in which the embryo floats ; the 
small bowels contain a milky substance, and the large 
ones a black liquid matter. There is now a little bile 
in the gall-bladder, and a little urine in the bladder. 
The head is bent forward, the chin rests upon the breast ; 
the knees are drawn up, and sometimes almost touch the 
cheeks ; the legs he close to the thighs ; one of the 
hands touches the face, and sometimes both ; at other 
times the hands hang down along the sides. From this 
time the growth of the foetus goes on rapidly and with- 
out interruption, till at the ninth month it abandons its 
prison, and emerges into day. 

Behold an epitome of the history of the formation of 
a child in the womb ! What a number of things are in- 
cluded in it, which may well fill us with astonishment, 
and cause us to admire the power and wisdom of God ! 
The whole process, from the moment of our conception 
to that of our birth, is a series of wonders ; and there 
may be many others which have escaped our notice, and 
which we cannot discover. Let this assemblage of won- 


ders excite us to adore that God who has formed us. 
Let us look back only through a few years, and we find 
we had no existence ! And how is it that we came out 
of nothing ? We have not created ourselves ; that In- 
finite Being who created the world has given us our ex- 
istence : and why has he brought us into being ? Is it 
not that we might live in such a manner as becomes the 
dignity of an intelligent creature, created and redeemed 
for eternal happiness ? 



Besides quadrupeds, fishes, and birds, there is also a 
species of animals which can live either on the earth or 
in the water, and on this account are termed amphibious. 
They are all cold-blooded, have something gloomy and 
disgusting in every part of their form ; of a dull and dis- 
agreeable colour ; a bad smell, a hoarse voice ; and many 
of them are very venomous. Instead of bones, these ani- 
mals have cartilages. The skins of some are smooth, 
and those of others covered with scales. Most of them 
hide themselves in dirty infected places. Some are vivi- 
parous, others are oviparous. The former do not hatch 
their eggs, but leave them to the warmth of the air, or 
that of the water. Sometimes they even lay them on 
dunghills. Almost all creatures of this species live by 
prey, which they procure either by strength or subtlety. 
In general they can bear hunger a long time, and live a 
laborious life. Some walk, others creep ; and this di- 
vides them into two classes. 

The first class consists of those which have feet. The 
tortoise, which belongs to this class, is covered with a 
kind of shell resembling a buckler. Land tortoises are 
the smallest. Those that live in the sea are five ells in 
length, and from eight to nine hundred pounds weight. 

There are different kinds of lizards; some have a 
smooth skin, others are covered with scales. There are 
some which have wings, some without. Those with 
wings are called dragons. Among those which have no 

l 2 


wings are reckoned the crocodile ; the cameleon, which 
can live six months without food ; the salamander, which 
has the property of living some time in the fire without 
being consumed, because the cold slimy fluid, which it 
throws out in all directions, extinguishes the coals. The 
crocodile is the most formidable of all this class. This 
animal comes out of an egg which is about the size of 
that of a goose ; and grows to such a prodigious size, 
that it is from twenty to thirty feet long. It is voracious, 
cruel, and cunning. 

Serpents constitute the second class of amphibious 
animals. They have no feet ; but creep by a winding 
vermicular motion, by means of the scales and rings with 
which their bodies are covered, The vertebrae of their 
backs have a peculiar construction, which favours this 
sort of motion. Many of these serpents have the pro- 
perty of attracting birds and other small animals, on 
which they prey : seized with terror at the sight of the 
serpent, and perhaps rendered giddy with its venoitious 
exhalations, these birds have no power to fly away, but 
fall into the gaping mouth of their enemy. 

As the jaws of serpents may be greatly extended, they 
sometimes swallow animals whose bodies are larger than 
their own heads. Several serpents have fangs in their 
mouths very like their other teeth. These are a species 
of darts, which they let out and in as they please, and 
by this means they eject into the wound which they 
make, a poisonous humour, which comes from a little 
bag placed at the root of the tooth. This poison has the 
singular property of being injurious only to wounds ; for 
it may be taken internally without any danger ! The 
serpents provided with arms, which have been just men- 
tioned, are but about the tenth part of the whole species ; 
none of the rest are venomous, though they will dart at 
men and animals with as much fury as though they 
could kill them. The rattlesnake is the most dangerous 
of all. It is ordinarily from three to four feet long, and 
as thick as the thigh of a full-grown man. Its smell is 
strong and very unpleasant : it seems as if nature had 
designed this, as well as its rattles, to warn men of its 
approach, that they might have time to escape. This 
reptile is most furious when it rains, or when it is tor- 


mented with hunger. It never bites till it has coiled 
itself into a circle; but the quickness with which it 
assumes this form is incredible. To coil itself up, to prop 
itself upon its tail, to dart upon its prey, to wound and 
retire, are but the work of a moment. 

Some probably may say, Why has God created such 
animals, which seem only to exist for the torment and 
destruction of man? This question, and many others 
like it, show that we only think of ourselves ; that we 
form rash judgments, and are prone to find fault with 
the works of God. Considered in this point of view, 
these questions are highly unbecoming and culpable. 
But if such questions be asked, in order to get a deeper 
conviction of the wisdom and goodness of God in the 
.works of creation, they are not only proper in them- 
selves, but highly necessary to those who wish to know 
the reason why God has formed so many noxious crea- 
tures ? To those then who are well disposed, and who 
seek information, I address myself. Perhaps it may ap- 
pear to you that such creatures as lizards and serpents 
were not created for the general good of the world. This 
judgment is rash; for if, among amphibious animals, 
some are formed which do much mischief, it is certain 
that most of them are quite harmless. And is it not a 
proof of the goodness of God that only the tenth part of 
serpents is venomous? Besides, even those which are 
mischievous have their bodies so formed that it is gene- 
rally easy to escape them. How formidable soever (for 
instance) the rattlesnake may be, it cannot conceal its 
approach ; its rattles give us timely warning to provide 
for our safety. It is also worthy of notice, that Pro- 
vidence has opposed to every reptile an enemy that can 
conquer it. The sea-hog everywhere seeks the rattle- 
snake that he may devour it : besides, a child is strong 
enough to kill the most terrible of them ; for a slight 
blow with a stick across their back is almost immediate 
death to them. Further, it would be very unjust to 
dwell so much on the mischief which these animals may 
do us, without considering the good which they actually 
do. Some amphibious animals are useful for food, others 
for medicine ; and the shell of the tortoise is of very 
great service. In a word, the Divine wisdom is as con- 


spicuous here as in all other things. To reflect on these 
perfections of the Lord, to admire and adore them, is a 
duty we should perform, when we behold creatures 
which appear to be injurious; but it is always unbe- 
coming in us either to condemn or murmur against his 
plans. And this would be still more culpable, as our 
understandings are too limited to comprehend the various 
uses for which such creatures may be designed. 



What can equal the perfection of the works of God ? 
and who can describe the infinite power which is mani- 
fested in them ? It is not enough that their magnitude, 
number, and variety fill us with admiration; for each 
particular work is formed with such infinite skill, each 
is so perfect in its kind, that the exactness and regularity 
of his smallest productions announce the unlimited gran- 
deur and wisdom of their author. We are with reason 
astonished at the different arts which the moderns have 
invented ; by means of which they accomplish things 
Avhich would have appeared supernatural to our ances- 
tors. We measure the height, breadth, and depth of 
bodies ; we know the orbits of the planets, and can 
direct the course of rivers; we can raise or depress 
waters; construct moveable buildings on the sea; and 
we accomplish a number of other works which are an 
honour to the human understanding. But, what are all 
the inventions of men, their most magnificent and beau- 
tiful works, in comparison of the least of the works of 
God ! How weak, how imperfect the imitations ! How 
far is the original above copy! Let the most eminent 
artist employ all his power to give his work a pleasing 
and useful form ; let him smooth, perfect, and polish with 
all possible care; and after all his labour, all his dili- 
gence, all his efforts, let him view this masterpiece through 
a microscope, and see how coarse, ill-shaped, and rough 
it will appear ! How great a want of regularity and 
proportion he will discover in it ! But whether we ex- 


amine the works of the Almighty with the naked eye, 
or through a microscope, we shall always find them 
equally admirable and beautiful. Perhaps through the 
microscope they may appear very different from what 
they seemed to the naked eye ; but we shall ever see the 
most exquisite figures, together with incomparable pro- 
portion, order, and harmony. 

The divine wisdom has formed and arranged all the 
parts of each body with infinite skill, according to num- 
ber, weight, and measure. Such is the prerogative of a 
power which is unlimited, that all its works are regular 
and perfectly proportioned. Admirable order reigns 
through the whole of his works, from the least to the 
greatest. All is in perfect harmony, all is well connected, 
so that we find no breaks ; no link is wanting in the 
immense chain of created beings ; nothing is misshapen ; 
every part is necessary to the perfection of the whole ; 
and each part considered separately is as perfect as it 
ought to be. Can we describe the innumerable beauties, 
the varied charms, the pleasing mixture of colours and 
hues, with all the ornaments so diversified, of the fields, 
plants, and flowers, vallies, mountains, and forests ? Is 
there a single work of God but has its peculiar and dis- 
tinct beauty ? Is not that which is most useful at the 
same time the most beautiful ? What an astonishing 
variety of forms, figures, and sizes do we see among in- 
animate creatures ? But there is still a more abundant 
variety in animated nature ; nevertheless, each is per- 
fect, and nothing deficient, nothing exuberant is found 
in either. How great therefore must his power be, who, 
by a single act of his will, has caused all these creatures 
to exist ! 

But to admire the power of God we need not go back 
to that time when his omnific word called all things out 
of nothing, when everything was instantaneously brought 
forth, and yet in a state of perfection. Do we not each 
spring behold a new creation ? What can be more won- 
derful than the revolutions which then take place ? The 
vallies, fields, meadows, forests, all in some sort die at 
the end of autumn, and nature is spoiled of all her orna- 
ments in the winter. All animals languish, the birds 


hide themselves, and are silent ; all becomes desert, and 
nature appears benumbed and insensible. Nevertheless, 
a divine power acts in secret, and labours for the re- 
newal of nature unobserved by us. Animation is re- 
stored to benumbed bodies, and everything is in expec- 
tation of a sort of resurrection. 

How can we be spectators so often of this magnificent 
spectacle without admiring, with more profound vene- 
ration, the power and glory of the Most High? How 
can we ever breathe the cool refreshing air without being 
led to such reflections ? Does not God manifest himself 
in nature as well as in revelation ? Should we ever rest 
under the shade of a tufted tree, should we ever see a 
field enamelled with flowers, a beautiful forest, or waving 
corn ; should we ever pluck a flower, or enter a garden, 
without remembering that it is God who has given the 
tree its foliage, the flowers their beauty and perfume, the 
woods and meadows their pleasing verdure ; that it is He 
" who causes bread to spring out of the earth, wine that 
maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face 
to shine ?" Struck with admiration, and penetrated with 
gratitude and love, we should exclaim with the Psalmist, 
" Lord, how manifold are thy works ! In wisdom hast 
thou made them all ; the earth is full of thy goodness !" 
Ps. civ. 14, 15, 24. 



This is the blessed season in which the divine good- 
ness pours out to us fruits of every kind in the richest 
abundance. "The charms of summer give place to 
more solid enjoyments ; delicious fruits supply the ab- 
sence of flowers. The golden pippin, whose beauty is 
increased by purple streaks, causes the branch which 
bears it to bend down. The mellow pear and the plumb, 
whose sweetness rivals honey itself, display their beauty, 
and seem to invite the hand of theii Master." Should 

FRUIT. 225 

we not be inexcusable, if at the sight of all these bless- 
ings, with which we are laden through the munificence 
of God, we did not endeavour to sanctify the pleasures 
of autumn by reflecting on the kindness of our Maker ? 

With what wisdom has the Creator distributed fruit 
through the different seasons of the year ! It is in sum- 
mer and autumn, principally, that nature has made us 
these rich presents ; but by the assistance of art, we are 
also favoured with them both in winter and spring, and 
our tables may be furnished with certain kinds through 
the whole course of the year. From the beginning of 
June, nature herself, without the assistance of art, fur- 
nishes raspberries, gooseberries, and common cherries. 
The month of July furnishes our tables with cherries, 
peaches, apricots, and some kinds of pears. August 
seems rather to lavish than give its fruits; figs, late 
cherries, and a variety of excellent pears. September 
provides us some grapes, winter pears, and apples. The 
presents of October are different kinds of pears, apples, 
and the delicious fruit of the vine. 

It is with this wise economy that nature measures out 
and distributes her gifts ; on the one hand, that we may 
not be overloaded with too great an abundance ; and on 
the other, that we may still have a successive variety of 
enjoyments. It is true that in proportion as we advance 
into the winter season the number of good fruit dimi- 
nishes considerably; but art has taught us to preserve 
some even for this season. God has not thought proper 
to dispense with our labour in this business; he wills 
that we should be ever active, and that we should 
diligently labour to supply our own necessities. Hence 
it is that God has distributed his blessings with such 
variety, and has purposed that they should spoil, or 
be destroyed, if proper care be not taken to preserve 

How abundantly has God distributed fruit to us ! 
Notwithstanding the continual ravages of birds and in- 
sects, there still remains a sufficient quantity to compen- 
sate for this loss. Reckon only, it possible, the number 
of fruits which a hundred trees bear in one favourable 
vear, and you will be astonished at the result, and admire 

l 3 


that prodigious multiplication which extends ad in- 

And what was the design of such abundance ? If the 
propagation and preservation of trees were the only de- 
sign, much less would, without doubt, have answered 
that end. It is therefore evident, that the Creator wished 
to provide for the nourishment of men, and in particular 
for the poor and necessitous. By giving them so much 
fruit, he has furnished them with a cheap mode of sub- 
sistence, both wholesome, nutritious, and pleasant ; so 
that they have no reason to envy the rich their far-fetched 
dainties, so often injurious to health. 

There is scarcely any thing more nourishing than fruit. 
It is through the benevolent attention of Providence that 
we have them in a season when they are not only pleas 
ing refreshments to us, but excellent medicines. Apples 
come seasonably in the heats of summer, because they 
moderate the heat of the blood, and cool the stomach 
and intestines. Plums have a grateful acid, and an 
unctuous and emollient juice, which render them helpful 
in many cases. They purge gently, and correct the acri- 
mony of the bile and other humours, which so often 
occasions inflammatory disorders. And if there be cer- 
tain fruits the use of which is found to be unwhole- 
some, as some think peaches, apricots, and melons to 
be, it is a proof that they are not designed for our 
climate, or at least for those persons who cannot obviate, 
by the use of wine and aromatics, the evil effects which 
their excessively cooling quality may produce. 

Nothing can be more delicious than fruits. Every 
species has a flower peculiar to itself: had they all 
the same taste, they would certainly lose much of their 
value ; but this variety renders them vastly more pleas- 
ing. Thus, God resembles a tender Father, who pro- 
vides not only for the suj)port, but also for the pleasure 
of his children. 

While using fruit, let us never forget the bounty of the 
beneficent Being who has dispensed them. Let us feel 
it our most sacred duty to consecrate ourselves entirely 
to the service of jso tender a Parent. How great shall 
cur happiness be, if we sincerely devote ourselves to 


him ! What a blessed satisfaction, what pure and ex- 
alted pleasures shall we then taste ! And what a glorious 
hope may we indulge of future happiness ! 



Praise ye the Lord, for he is omnipotent ! He counts 
the stars, and calls them all by their names. Earth and 
heaven celebrate him ; his name is great and glorious ; 
he governs with majesty : celebrate the Almighty ! 

Unite your voices to bless the God of love ! Ye who 
are distressed, come to him ; come to your Father ; he is 
gentle, merciful, and gracious ; everything proves that 
he is a God of grace and love. 

His heavens become dark ; but it is to water the earth 
with fruitful rains. Our fields are covered with verdure ; 
grass grows, and fruits ripen ; for his clouds pour down 
his bounty. The Lord is full of kindness, 

Let everything that has breath glorify the Lord ! 
Birds, beasts, fish, insects, nothing is forgotten ; all are 
objects of his care ; all are nourished by his bounty. 
Let us magnify and praise our heavenly Father ! 

Behold how he supports and comforts those who trust 
in his mercy ! Often, one friend cannot aid another _; 
and the greatest strength of man cannot save him from 
danger. Alas ! alas ! for the mortal who seeks vain 
supports ! Rest on the Rock of Ages ; he is the only 

Render him thanks, because he has made his will 
known unto you, and given you his laws and his precepts. 
His word is a source of life and salvation ! O ye people 
of his covenant, how great is your happiness ! Praise. 
celebrate, and exalt the God of truth ! 



Great is the Lord ! Innumerable heavens are his 
pavilion ; the thunder-cloud is his chariot, and the light- 
ning walketh by his side. 

The lustre of the morning is but the reflection of the 
hem of his garment ; when his splendour goes forth, the 
light of the sun is eclipsed. 

Praise the mighty and gracious Lord, ye luminaries of 
his palace ! Ye solar rays, flame to his glory ! Thou earth, 
sing to his praise ! 

Celebrate him, thou sea; foam, ye billows, to his 
honour ; ye rivers, praise him in your course ! Ye lions 
of the forest, roar to his glory ! Sing, sing to him, ye 
feathered inhabitants of the air ! 

Reiterate his praises, ye echoes ! Let all nature, in 
joyous concert, sing to his honour ! And thou, O man, 
lord of this lower world, mingle thy thanksgivings with 
the universal harmony. 

He has done more for thy happiness than for all the 
rest ; he has given thee an immortal spirit ; thou canst 
comprehend the structure of the universe, and art ac- 
quainted with the wheels of nature. 

Exalt him high for thy own salvation ; he needs not 
thy praise to render him happy. When thou soarest up 
to him, thy low desires and base inclinations shall vanish 

Praise him when the sun rises from its ruddy bed ; 
praise him when it sinks down into the same ; to the 
voice of universal nature, let thy voice be at all times 

Praise him in the rainy and dry seasons ; in the tem- 
pest, and in the fair weather ; when it snows, when the 
ice renders the rivers passable, and when the earth is 
covered with verdure ! 



All the heavenly host glorify the power and majesty 
of the Creator ; and all the spheres which roll in the im- 
mensity of space celebrate the wisdom of his works. 
The sea, the mountains, the forests, and the deeps, which 
a single act of his will created, are the heralds of his 
love, and declare his power. 

Shall I alone be silent ? Shall I not chant a hymn to 
his praise ? My soul longs to soar up to his throne ; 
and if my language be imperfect, let my tears express 
the lore I feel to my Father and my Friend. 

Yes, my tongue is that of a stammerer ; but let the 
Most High see, that the holiest flame bums on the altar 
of my heart. But how shall I praise thee ? Could I 
take the beams of the sun for my pencil, I could not 
sketch a single ray of thy essence ; the purest spirits can 
offer thee but imperfect praise. 

By what power is it that millions of suns shine with 
so much splendour ? Who has traced out the wonderful 
course of ;those rolling spheres? By what bond are 
they connected ? By what power are they influenced ? 
It is by thy breath, O Jehovah ! It is by thy almighty 

All proceeds from thee. Thou didst speak, and worlds 
sprang into existence; then was our globe produced. 
The birds and fish, the cattle, and the wild beasts which 
sport in the forests, and finally man himself, came to 
inhabit it, and rejoice in thy works. 

Thou cheerest our sight with delightful and variegated 
prospects ; our eyes wander over the green field, or con- 
template the forest which seems to touch the clouds ; 
sometimes they view the sparkling dew-drops, with 
which thou waterest the flowers; or follow the windings 
of the limpid stream, in which the trees are reflected. 

In order to break the violence of the winds, and at 
the same time to afford us the most enchanting pros- 
pects, the mountains rise, and from them the whole- 


some springs proceed. Thou waterest the dry vallies 
with rain and dew ; thou coolest the air with the gentle 

It is through thee that the hand of spring spreads the 
green carpet under our feet ; it is thou who gildest the 
ears of corn, and tingest the grape with its purple hue ; 
and when the cold comes to benumb nature, thou wrappest 
her up in a glittering veil. 

By thee the human mind penetrates even to the starry 
heavens ; by thee man knows the past, and can discern 
truth from falsehood, the appearance from the reality ; 
by thee he judges, desires, or fears ; by thee he conquers 
death, and escapes from the tomb. 

Lord, my tongue shall rehearse thy mighty acts ; only 
disdain not the praises of him who, before thee, is but a 
feeble worm. Thou, who readest my heart, deign to 
accept the emotions which it feels, and the gratitude 
which it is unable to express. 

When thy mercy shall encompass my head with an 
immortal crown, and I shall be presented faultless before 
the presence of thy glory, then shall I exalt thy majesty 
with praises more sublime. O happy moment ! long 
desired, and ardently wished for, hasten thy appearance ! 
Then shall joy, without any mixture of sorrow, for ever 
overflow my heart. 


Man is not only furnished with senses, but with rea- 
son also, that he may employ those senses to advantage. 

This is particularly the case with respect to sight. 
We not only can see the objects around us, and enjoy 
the blessings of vision, in common with other animals, 
but by our reasoning powers we are capable of deriving 
advantages from it, for increasing our knowledge and 
promoting our happiness. 

When we view the heavenly bodies, they are apparently 
on the surface of a sphere, all equally distant from the 
eye. This distance is very great ; but how great it is, or 
whether these bodies be at equal distances from us, or 
otherwise, notwithstanding we see them so clearly, 


we could never know without the aid of reason. But 
this faculty furnishes us with the means of coming to 
the certain knowledge that those resplendent bodies are 
really at very different distances from us, and from each 
other, and also of finding very nearly, with respect to 
many of them, what that distance is. The unskilful in 
geometry and astronomy may deem this impracticable ; 
but a little attention to the subject may convince him of 
its reality. 

Thus, if we wish to know the distance of a remote 
object in sight without going near it, we have only first 
to measure, with accuracy, a straight line in any conve- 
nient situation, erecting objects at each end of this 
measured line. We have now only to take from each 
of these extremities, the position of the remote object, 
and these data will suffice for finding the distance of the 
remote object from either end of the measured line ; 
because that distance depends on the change of position, 
or parallax, which is observed in the remote object in 
going from one end of the measured line to the other : 
the less that change is, the greater will be the distance 
sought. On the same principles the distances of the 
heavenly bodies are found. 

If a straight line be assumed on the earth or in space, 
of a given length and position, and if we conceive a 
heavenly body viewed from one end of this line in some 
particular position, then if we could ascertain the change 
of position or parallax which would occur from viewing 
the body from the other end of that line, called the base 
line, we could easily calculate the distance of that body. 
The semi-diameter of the earth is the base line, gene- 
rally taken. The chief difficulty is to find the parallax. 
The parallax of the moon is about one degree, being 
variable, because her distance from the earth is variable. 
Her distance is hence found to be about sixty semi- 
diameters of the earth, or 240,000 miles. The paral- 
laxes of the sun and planets are so very small, on account 
of their great distances, that a very small error in 
measuring them produces a very great error in the cal- 
culated distances. Here is a great difficulty ; but the 
mind of man is seldom without resources. The transits 
of Venus afford a method of finding the parallactic 


angle of the sun, and to this we owe the great accuracy 
by which the distance of the sun is determined, and con- 
sequently those of the other planets. 

The sun's distance from us is about 95,000,000 of 
miles, and the distance of the most remote planet known, 
the Herschel, is 1,800,000,000 of miles from the sun. 
We hence form notions tolerably correct of the dimen- 
sions of the solar system. The distances of the planets 
being known, it is an easy problem to find their magni- 
tudes, because their apparent diameters may be measured. 
But it is not eren probable that we shall ever be able to 
find the distance of the nearest fixed star ; for if we 
take the diameter of the earth's orbit, which is 190,000,000 
of miles, for a base line, it is found that the star has no 
sensible parallax, but appears exactly in the same position 
when viewed from both extremities of this immense 
base. This, however, is proved by it, that the whole 
solar system is but a mere point of no sensible magni- 
tude, in comparison of the distance of the nearest fixed 
star ; and a luminous body, large enough to fill the ex- 
tensive orbit of the planet Herschel, would appear but 
a mere twinkling point, if seen from the nearest fixed 
star. How small a portion, then, of the universe, is our 
sun, with its system of planets and comets ! 

The best observers, who have attempted to find the 
parallax of the fixed stars, are of opinion, that that of 
the nearest star, on the base above mentioned, is less than 
one second ; but allowing it to be so much, then the dis- 
tance will be more than 20,000,000,000 of miles. 

It would require three years for light, which moves 
12,000,000 of miles in one minute, to travel throughout 
this space ; hence 12,000,000 of miles is as small a part 
of the distance of the nearest star, as one minute is of 
three years, or even smaller. 

Admitting that the medium distance of the stars from 
each other is as much as this distance, how amazing 
the sphere occupied by the stars which may be seen 
from our earth ! " O Lord, what is man, that thou art 
mindful of him ; or the son of man, that thou visitest 
him ?" It is because thou ga vest him a living soul from 
thyself, and madest him capable of loving and enjoying 
thee in this habitation in which thou hast placed him, 


and in all places of thy dominion to which thou mayest 
lead him in the riches of thy loving-kindness. 



Nothing in nature can exceed the violence of fire; 
and we cannot without astonishment reflect on the effects 
which it produces in all bodies, and the extreme activity 
of its particles. But how few attend to these effects, or 
judge them worthy of their observation ? In all our 
domestic affairs, we daily feel the beneficial influence of 
fire ; and perhaps this is the reason that we commonly 
pay so little attention to it. It is my duty, however, to 
put the reader in mind of this divine benefit, and cause 
him, if possible, to feel all its worth. 

One effect of fire, which falls under every person's 
notice, is that of dilating the bodies which it penetrates. 
A piece of iron, fitted to a hole in a metal plate, so that 
it may easily pass through when cold, will not enter 
when hot ; but let it cool, and it passes through as easily 
as before. 

This dilation, produced by fire, is still more sensible 
in fluid bodies, particularly in wine, beer, and air; 
were it not for this, the thermometer, by which we 
measure the different degrees of heat, would be entirely 

Observe the effect of fire on compact inanimate bodies ; 
how soon do they melt and are changed, partly into a 
fluid, and partly into a solid of a different sort ! It com- 
municates fluidity to ice, oil, and all fat substances, and 
to metals in general. What renders these bodies sus- 
ceptible of this change is, that either combination is 
more simple, and that the particles of which they are 
composed are more homogeneal than those of other 
bodies. The fire penetrates their pores more easily, and 
succeeds sooner in separating the parts from each other. 
Hence it is that some of these matters evaporate when 
the fire penetrates them in too great a quantity, and with 
too much violence. Some solid bodies undergo other 


changes: sand, flint, slate, quartz, and spar vitrify in 
the fire ; clay is changed by it into stone ; marble, cal- 
careous stones, and chalk are turned into lime. These 
different effects do not proceed from the fire, but from 
the different properties of those bodies on which it acts. 
It may produce three different effects on the same body, 
viz., melt, vitrify, and reduce it into lime, provided the 
body be composed of three different matters; the one 
metallic, the other vitrifiable, and the third calcareous. 
But fire by itself produces no new substance, it only 
discovers those parts which were before hidden in the 
bodies on which it acts. 

As to fluids, fire produces two effects on them: it 
causes them to boil, and reduces them to vapour. These 
vapours are formed of the most subtile particles of those 
bodies, united to particles of fire. Hence it is that the 
vapours ascend, because they are lighter than air. 

As to animals, fire produces through all parts of their 
bodies the sensation of warmth. Without this element 
the life of man could not be preserved ; for a portion of 
fire is requisite in the blood to keep it in motion. In 
order to preserve this motion and warmth, we every 
moment imbibe a portion of fresh air, to which fire is 
ever united ; while, on the other hand, we expel the air 
which, haviug remained some time in our lungs, had lost 
its elasticity, and was loaded with superfluous humours. 

All these reflections should confirm us in this im- 
portant truth, that God refers everything to the welfare 
of mankind ; and that he constantly places proofs of his 
love everywhere before our eyes. How many advantages 
accrue to us from the effects of fire only ? By the union 
of fire and air the seasons are renewed, the moisture of 
the soil and the health of men preserved. By means of 
fire, water is put in motion ; and without this it would 
speedily lose its fluidity. By its gentle action in all or- 
ganized bodies, it brings them gradually to their com- 
plete perfection. It preserves the branch in the bud, 
the plant in the seed, and the embryo in the egg. It 
prepares our food properly ; it contributes much to the 
formation of metals, and renders them fit for use. Finally, 
when we collect the various properties of fire, we may 
see that througn it the Creator has dispersed a multitude 


of blessings over the whole globe : a truth which ought 
to be deeply impressed on our hearts, and excite us to 
love the Author of our being, and inspire us with content- 
ment. The more we search into the nature of things, 
the more we shall see that all concur to the accomplish- 
ment of the most perfect end. Everywhere we may ob- 
serve magnificent plans ; a wonderful order, connexion, 
and constant harmony between the parts and the whole, 
the means and .the end. To be convinced of this re- 
quires no extraordinary exertion of mind; let us only 
contemplate nature quietly, and by the aid of our senses 
we shall in most cases be fully assured that all the works 
of God are full of wisdom and goodness. 



Birds have already afforded us many innocent plea- 
sures. Now that a great part of these sprightly inhabit- 
ants of the air have disappeared, and will not return for 
a considerahle time, let us once more reflect upon them ; 
and let the subject excite us to meditate with the most 
lively sentiments of gratitude and joy on their Creator 
and ours. We may find great pleasure in considering 
the different instincts which God has given to birds. 
None of these instincts is superfluous or useless : each 
is indispensably necessary to the preservation and well- 
being of the animal ; and the little we know of this sub- 
ject is sufficient to give us the most exalted idea of the 
wisdom and goodness of God. 

In the first place, when we reflect on the instinct 
which leads birds to move, we may find in that alone a 
just subject of admiration. Experience may convince us 
that bodily motions require more than strength and 
well-formed pliant limbs. It is not till after many trials 
and falls that we are able to balance ourselves ; to walk 
with ease, to run, leap, rise up, and sit down ; and yet 
these motions seem more easy to bodies constructed like 
ours than to birds. These animals also have two feet ; 
but their bodies do not rest perpendicularly on them ; 


they project both before and behind; and yet a chick 
will stand straight, and run about almost as soon as it is 
out of the shell. Young ducks, just hatched by a hen, 
know their own element, and ewinr about in the water 
without example or instruction. Other birds know how 
to rise up from their nests into the air, balance them- 
selves, pursue their course, making equal strokes with 
their wings in true time ; stretch out their feet to balance 
their body ; use their tail like an oar or rudder, to direct 
their flight ; and make long journies from their native 
country to unknown regions. 

They also provide their food with admirable art — an 
art which they bring into the world with them. Some 
birds, though not aquatic, live on fish ; they must neces- 
sarily find it more difficult to seize their prey than water- 
fowl. Who teaches them their natural instinct in this 
case ? They stand on the brink of the strange element, 
and when a shoal of fish comes, which they can discover 
at a distance, they pursue them, skim along the surface, 
and suddenly dive into the water, and carry off a fish. 
Who gave the birds of prey their piercing sight, courage, 
and the weapons without which they could not possibly 
subsist ? Who points out to the stork the place where 
she may find frogs and insects to feed on ? In order to 
find them she must seek them, not only in the meadows, 
but also in the furrows of the field ; she must continue 
her search till near the morning, when the other birds 
awake. What incredible strength must the conder 
have, seeing it can carry away a sheep or a deer, and 
prey upon an ox ! How can we reconcile with the wild 
nature of the quail, a characteristic which no education 
can entirely correct, that maternal instinct which causes 
her to adopt little birds of every species, which she not 
only takes under her protection, but bestows on them the 
tenderest cares? What cunning does the crow use to 
secure the prey which she cannot devour at once ! She 
hides it in places such as other crows do not frequent ; 
and when she is hungry again, how well does she know 
the magazine where she has laid it up ! 

We might spend many years in multiplying observa- 
tions of this kind, without being able to explain the 
principal mysteries contained in the instinct of birds. 


But even the little we do know of this subject may tend 
in a most pleasing manner to engage those whose hearts 
are disposed to contemplate the works of nature, and to 
exalt them to still more noble pursuits. To this point I 
wish to conduct the reader. Let none be contented with 
barely considering the instinct and faculties of birds ; 
this should be only the first step to sublimer meditations. 
Let our admiration of these faculties raise our hearts to 
that God from whom they have received them ; and who 
has prepared and combined so many things for the sub- 
sistence and multiplication of this part of his creatures. 
Let us not say that nature teaches these birds this art or 
that industry which surprises us so much ; if you sepa- 
rate nature from its Author, it is then a word destitute of 
meaning. Let us rather glorify the Creator, and acknow- 
ledge that it is he alone who gives wisdom even to the 
fowls of the air. 



Here we discover a new scene of wonders, which 
seem totally to contradict the principles which have been 
adopted relative to the formation of organic bodies. It 
has been long thought that animals could only be mul- 
tiplied either by eggs or young ones ; but this principle 
must be admitted with some caution, as it is still liable 
to several exceptions. It is now found that there are 
some animal bodies which may be divided into as many 
complete bodies as we please ; for each part will speedily 
repair what is deficient, in order to make a complete ani- 
mal, after having been separated from its original. It is 
now no longer doubted that the polypus belongs to the 
class of animals ; although it resembles plants, not only 
in its form, but also in the mode of its propagation. The 
bodies of these zoophytes may be cut either across or 
lengthwise ; and these bits will become so many com- 
plete polypes : even from the skin, or smallest bits cut 
off, there will grow one or more of these animals. And, 
if several bits cut off be put together at the ends, they 


will reunite so perfectly, and nourish each other, that 
they soon become one and the same body. This dis- 
covery has given rise to other experiments, which have 
proved that polypes are not the only animals which can 
live and grow after being cut in pieces. 

The common earthworm will multiply after being cut 
in two. To the tail part there grows a head, and the 
two parts then become two complete worms. After 
having cut the worm in two, it would be in vain to at- 
tempt to unite the parts; they will never join. They 
remain for some time in the same state, only grow a little 
smaller ; afterwards, at the cut extremity, a little whitish 
button begins to appear, which grows larger, and then 
lengthens by degrees. Shortly after rings appear, which 
are at first very close together, but extend insensibly on 
all sides. It then forms itself new lungs, a new heart, 
a new stomach, and with these several other organs. 

The following experiment may be made daily with 
snails. Cut off their heads close to their horns, and in a 
certain space this head will be reproduced. 

A similar change takes place in crabs : break off one 
of their claws and put the animal again into its element, 
and in some time the claw will be entirely reproduced. 

Another very wonderful experiment has been made 
by Mr. Dumahel, on the thigh of a chicken. After the 
thigh-bone, which had been broken, was perfectly re- 
stored, so that a callus was completely formed, he cut 
off all the flesh even to the bone ; the parts were gradu- 
ally reproduced, and the circulation entirely restored ! 

We are convinced then that some animals are per- 
petuated by being divided ; and we cannot doubt that 
the young of certain insects may be produced in the 
same way as a branch is from the tree ; that they may be 
cut in pieces, and the smallest piece become a complete 
animal ; that they may be turned inside out like a glove, 
cut in pieces, and then turned again ; and nevertheless 
still eat, live, grow, and propagate ! Here a question 
arises, which no naturalist can answer in a satisfactory 
maimer : How can these parts, thus cut off, be again re- 
produced? It must be taken for granted in this case 
that germs are spread through every part of the body, 
while in other cases they are confined to one part. These 


germs unfold themselves when they meet with proper 
nourishment : thus in cutting one of these animals the 
germ is furnished with the requisite juices, which would 
have heen conducted elsewhere, had not their course been 
thus interrupted. The superfluous juices cause those 
parts to unfold themselves, which without this Avould 
have continued attached to each other. Every part of 
the polype and the worm contains in itself all the viscera 
necessary to the animal, as the bud does all the rudiments 
of the tree. These parts, essential to life, are dispersed 
all over the body, and the circulation is carried on even 
in the smallest parts. 

As we cannot comprehend all the means which the 
Author of Nature may make use of to distribute life and 
feeling through such a prodigious multitude of beings : 
so we must not assert that the animals already mentioned 
are the only ones which, in reference to their mode of 
propagating, are exceptions to the general rule. The 
fecundity of nature, or rather the infinite wisdom of the 
Creator, must ever surpass our weak conceptions. The 
hand that has formed the polypus and the earthworm 
has showed us that it can, when necessary, simplify the 
animal constitution. It has simplified them more still, 
and descending always by insensible gradations, has ar- 
rived at the utmost limits of animal nature ; but of these 
utmost limits we are ignorant : let us feel a deep con- 
viction of this ignorance, and admire and adore the su- 
preme wisdom. It is never more sublime than in those 
cases in which it is impossible for us to discover its foot- 

These animal reproductions should remind us of the 
great change which shall take place in the day of the 
resurrection. What we see now in miniature, will be 
then manifested in magnitude. What we now observe 
in other bodies we shall then experience in our own : 
from the smallest particles a body will spring up, fitted 
for the enjoyment of an eternal felicity. 



We should not be so happy as we really are if we had 
not the faculty of distinguishing different kinds of meat 
and drink by tasting. The great variety of fruit at this 
season may naturally lead us to reflect on this subject. 
Our pleasure would be greatly diminished if the pear, 
the apple, the plum, and the grape, had all the same 
flavour. The power to distinguish them, or, in other 
words, the sense of taste, is a gift of God's goodness, and 
a proof of his wisdom, on which we should reflect with 
gratitude to our Creator. 

But by what means do we taste and distinguish our 
food ? The tongue is the principal organ ; and, that it 
may answer this end, its surface is covered with nervous 
papillae, by means of which we distinguish the flavour of 
the salts which dissolve on the tongue. Tasting, there- 
fore, depends on the nerves ; and this is clearly seen in 
dissecting the tongue; for, after the membrane which 
covers it is taken off, a multitude of roots where the 
nerves terminate appear, and these are the nervous pa- 
pillae that give us the sensation of taste; and where 
these are not, the sensation is wanting. 

When we put highly flavoured things under the tongue, 
we are scarcely sensible of it till they are attenuated, 
and till we bring them on its surface, then we distinguish 
their flavour; consequently the sensation of taste is in its 
full force only where the nervous papillae are most nume- 
rous ; and this is the part nearest to the throat. To be 
further convinced that tasting is occasioned by the nerves, 
we need only examine the tongue of a dog or a cat On 
their tongue the nervous papillae are situated towards the 
root ; the forepart is destitute, but the palate is covered 
with them ; hence it is that these animals have no sen- 
sation of taste in the tip of their tongue. 

Let us continue our reflections for a few moments 
longer on this subject. How ingeniously is this organ 
of taste formed ; all the parts which no anatomist has 


yet been able to find out ! Is it not a proof of great 
wisdom that the tongue should have more nerves and 
fibres, in proportion, than any other part of the body; 
and that it should be full of small pores, that salts and all 
savoury particles should penetrate deeper, and in greater 
quantity, into the nervous papillae ? Is it not a proof of 
the same wisdom that the branches of the nerves, which 
are spread over the palate and throat to assist mastica- 
tion, should extend their branches towards the nose and 
eyes, as if to inform the organs of sight and smelling 
that they should contribute their part toward the discern- 
ment of food ? Another thing worthy of admiration is, 
the duration of the organs of taste. Notwithstanding 
the delicacy of their structure, they last longer than in- 
struments of stone or steel. Our clothes wear out, our 
flesh fades, our very bones dry up ; but the sense of taste 
survives them all. What admirable designs may we dis- 
cover even in the apparatus of these organs ! O man, 
thou art the only creature that knows he is endowed 
with senses, and the only one capable of raising him- 
self towards God by the contemplation and use of these 

Strenuously endeavour, by the assistance of divine 
grace, to make a proper use of these faculties. If thou 
wilt not acknowledge the goodness of thy Creator who 
shall render him that homage ? Thou enjoyest more 
through the sense of taste than any other creature ; for 
the animals have but few things on which they like to 
feed ; but thy Creator has prepared for thee meats 
and drinks as various as they are abundant. Reflect 
on the abundance whch the animal, vegetable, and 
mineral kingdoms provide for thee. " Heaven and earth, 
air and ocean, pay thee tribute. Wheresoever thou 
turnest, thou mayest behold the gifts of God. The tops 
of the mountains, the bottom of the vallies, and the 
beds of lakes and rivers, furnish thee with aliments and 

It is reasonable that we should highly esteem this gift 
of our Creator; hut let us not esteem it beyond the 
design of the donor. The sense of taste is given us to 
be the means of accomplishing a noble end. How in- 
describably foolish would it be to make the whole of our 



happiness consist in those pleasures of which this sense 
is the organ ! and to live only to please the palate with 
savoury meats and delicious drinks ! Let us take care 
not to bring ourselves to a level with the brute, whose 
principal happiness consists in eating and drinking. Let 
us remember that we have an immortal soul, which 
cannot be satisfied but by the Supreme Good. To have 
a true taste for this good, earnestly to desire to be nour- 
ished by it, is that wherein the wisdom and true felicity 
of the man and the Christian consist. 




All the events which take place in the sky, on the 
earth, in the sea, and in the air, are regulated according 
to prescribed natural laws. But it would be foolish not to 
acknowledge a particular influence of God, which directs 
natural things according to his own views, and causes 
them to concur in accomplishing his own designs. He 
makes use of natural causes to chastise mankind ; and 
thus, at his command, the air is pure or corrupt, the 
seasons fruitful or unproductive. He prevents or assists 
the designs of men ; sometimes by winds and storms, 
and sometimes by the flux or reflux of the sea. It is 
true, that God does not in general interrupt the course 
of nature ; but it is equally true, that nature cannot act 
without his energy and concurrence. The parts of which 
the visible world is composed cannot use their power as 
they please ; and God can influence his creatures with- 
out reversing the order of nature. Fire, water, wind, 
and rain have their natural and particular causes, and 
particular virtues ; but God uses them in a manner 
suitable to their nature, to execute his designs. He 
makes use of the heat of the sun to warm the earth, 
and render it fruitful. He employs the rain and the 
wind to purify and cool the air ; but it is always in such 
a way, and in such a degree, as best consists with his 
own views. 


A great part of the blessings and evils which we ex- 
perience here below proceed from surrounding objects ; 
but as God interests himself in all that happens to man, 
he must of course influence these objects, and act through 
every part of nature. On this are founded the rewards 
and punishments of virtue and vice. Peace and pros- 
perity crown the one ; and when he pleases, famine and 
pestilence scourge the other. In a word, all natural 
causes are in the hand of God, and immediately under 
the guidance of his providence. Men themselves furnish 
proofs of this. How often does their industry triumph 
over nature ! They cannot indeed change the essence of 
things, but they know how to use natural causes so that 
effects may result from them which would never have 
taken place had it not been for the art and direction of 
man. Now, if the Most High has in some measure 
subjected natural things to human industry, with how 
much more reason may he reserve to himself the direc- 
tion and government of all these things ? 

From all this we may conclude how necessary it is 
that a particular providence should watch over the go- 
vernment of the world. Natural causes are, doubtless, 
excellent instruments; but in order that they may be 
useful, they must be put into the hands of a skilful work- 
man. It would be an unreasonable wish that God would 
change the established laws of nature ; for instance, if 
we should fall at any time into the fire or into the water, 
that we should not be burnt by the one, or drowned in 
the other. Nor is Divine Providence obliged to preserve 
us when we shorten our lives by our own intemperance ; 
for it is not to be expected that God will work miracles 
to save men from those evils which they bring upon 
themselves by their irregularity and misconduct. It is 
our duty to attribute to a particular providence all those 
kind dispensations which relieve our wants, and fill our 
hearts with joy. But all the disorders of nature are at 
the same time effects of the wrath of God, who makes 
use of them for the punishment of sinners. It is on 
this truth that, on one hand, we found our prayers and 
supplications for the blessings of heaven, peace of con- 
science, and fruitful seasons; and on the other, our 



thanksgivings to God for the manifold mercies we re- 
ceive from his hand. 



Nature is so liberal to us, so abundant in means to 
supply the wants of all creatures, so rich in gifts, that 
they can no more be numbered than the drops of water 
in the ocean. 

How many things does one single man need in the 
course of a life of sixty years ! How much is necessary 
for eating, drinking, clothing; for the sweets, conve- 
niences, pleasures, amusements, and duties of society ; 
without mentioning extraordinary cases, and unforeseen 
wants and accidents. From the king to the beggar, in 
all states, conditions, and ages in human life ; from the 
infant to the old man ; in all nations ot the earth, and 
according to the different modes of life of the inhabit- 
ants ; each person has his particular wants : what suits 
one will not suit another, and all require different kinds 
of food, and means of subsistence. Notwithstanding 
this, we find that nature provides for all, and liberally 
supplies every want; so that each individual receives 
all that is necessary for his support. Since the founda- 
tion of the world the earth has not failed to open her 
bosom ; the mines have not been exhausted ; the sea 
always furnishes subsistence for an infinity of creatures ; 
and plants and trees have always produced seeds and 
germs, which shoot forth and become fruitful at their 
proper seasons ; beneficent nature varies her riches, that 
she may not be too much exhausted in one place ; and 
when one kind of plants, fruits, and other provisions 
begins to fail, she produces others, and does it in such a 
manner that the desire and taste of mankind should lead 
them to prefer those which are most abundant. 

Nature is also a wise economist, who takes care that 
nothing shall be lost. She knows how to turn every- 
thing to profit. Insects serve for food to the largest 


animals: and those are useful to man, in one way or 
other. If they provide him not with food, they afford 
him clothing, or arms and means of defence ; and some, 
which are not profitable for any of the above purposes, 
procure him at least useful medicines. Even when 
disease diminishes certain kinds of animals, nature re- 
pairs that loss by an increase of others. Even the dust, 
dead carcases, putrid and corrupted matter, are all made 
use of by her, either for food to certain insects, or manure 
for the earth. 

How rich also is nature in beautiful and delightful 
prospects ! Her most beautiful attire requires only light 
and colours ; with these she is abundantly provided, and 
the appearance which she presents us is continually 
varied, according to the different points of view in which 
they are seen. Here the eye is struck with beauteous 
forms; there the ear is charmed with melodious sounds; 
and the smell is regaled by exquisite perfumes. In 
other places art comes in to add new embellishments to 
nature by a thousand labours of her industry. The gifts 
of nature are so abundant that even those which are 
continually used never fail. She spreads her riches over 
a'l the earth ; she varies her gifts according to the dif- 
ferent countries ; she gives and receives ; she establishes, 
by means of commerce, such relations and connexions 
between different countries, that her presents pass through 
innumerable hands, and increase in profit and value by 
this continual circulation. She combines and mixes her 
gifts, as the physician does the ingredients in his pre- 
scriptions ; the great and the small, the beautiful and- the 
homely, the old and the new, combined and properly 
tempered together, form one whole, equally useful and 
pleasant. Such, in the hands of God, are the inex- 
haustible riches of nature. 

And what are we, that we should daily enjoy these 
blessings? How often has kind Nature in our behalf 
opened her liberal hand, and shed around us her abun- 
dant gifts ! But how many spiritual blessings, infinitely 
more precious, fall to our lot ! Nature is rich, but grace 
is infinitely more so. The former can only supply our 
temporal necessities; the latter satisfies the wants and 
enriches the poverty of our souls. The former undoubt- 


edly provides a variety of pleasures ; but to the latter we 
owe blessings that shall last for ever ! Nature charms 
and invigorates our senses ; grace seizes on the whole 
soul, and penetrates it with ineffable joy. May we know 
and feel that we owe otir all to the goodness of God ! 
May all the blessings with which he loads us from the 
kingdom of nature, and the kingdom of grace, kindle 
our love more and more, and perfect our confidence in 
him ! " What ! shall we not glorify so good a God ? 
Shall we not acknowledge his bounty? Shall we shut 
our ears when he calls ? Shall we refuse to walk in the 
path which he has marked out ? No ! Let us rather 
meditate on the love with which he has honoured us ;and 
let us love him who has first loved us. The Lord has 
never forgotten us a moment since we began to exist ; 
and while we live may we never forget him !" 



The transition of different substances, from the animal 
and vegetable kingdom into the mineral, is a peculiarity 
of natural history, which is well worth our attention. 
Petrifactions are properly a species of medals, the ex- 
plication of which casts a great deal of light on the 
natural history of the earth. 

The first thing to be remarked in petrifactions is their 
external form ; this proves that these fossils have indu- 
bitably appertained to the animal and vegetable kingdom. 
We seldom find petrifactions of any part of the human 
body; and those of quadrupeds are nearly as scarce. 
The most extraordinary skeletons found in the earth are 
those of elephants; some of which are found even in 
different parts of Germany. Petrifactions of aquatic 
animals are frequently to be met with ; sometimes whole 
fish are found, the smallest scales of which may be 
easily distinguished. But all this is nothing in com- 
parison of the multitude of shells and worms, apparently 
converted into stones in the bowels of the earth. Their 
number is not only prodigious, but there are so many 


different species, that living animals, corresponding to 
some of them, are entirely unknown. Petrifactions of 
marine substances are found in great abundance in all 
countries. They are found even on the tops of high 
mountains, some thousands of feet above the level of he 
sea. Many are found at different depths in the earth. 
All sorts of plants, and parts of vegetable substances, are 
found petrified in different strata of the earth ; but these 
are often the impressions only, the substances themselves 
being entirely destroyed. In many places whole trees 
are found buried at different depths in the earth, appar- 
ently converted into stone ; these petrifactions, however, 
do not appear to be of an ancient date. But how have 
all these petrified substances got into the earth ? And 
particularly, how could marine substances get to the 
"tops of such high mountains? How could animals, 
whose ordinary habitation is the sea, and which belong 
to no other element, be transported so far from their 
natural abode ? 

For this phenomenon different causes may be assigned. 
Probably these petrifactions prove that the water has 
formerly covered the greater part of the earth ; and 
indeed, as in every place we search from the tops of 
mountains to the greatest depths of the earth, we meet 
with all sorts of marine substances ; it seems as if it 
could not be accounted for otherwise. The great quan- 
tity of petrified shell-fish found at considerable heights, 
and which form regular beds, incline us to believe that 
these heights made formerly a part of the bottom of the 
sea ; and this opinion acquires strength from this con- 
sideration, that the present bottom of the sea exactly 
resembles the surface of the earth. We have but a very 
imperfect knowledge of the manner in which nature 
brings about these petrifactions. It is certain that 
no body can undergo this change in the open air, for 
animal and vegetable substances consume or rot in this 
element ; therefore the air must be excluded from the 
places in which these petrifactions take place, or, at 
least, its action must be suspended. Dry earth has no 
petrifying quality ; as to running waters, they may form 
a crust on particular bodies ; but they cannot change 
them into stone. The very motion of the water prevents 


this. It appears, therefore, probahle, that petrifactions 
require soft moist earth, greatly impregnated with dis- 
solved stony particles. These stony fluids penetrate 
the pores or cavities of animal and vegetable substances, 
and become consolidated, as the parts of these bodies 
are dissipated by evaporation, or absorbed by alkaline 

From what has been remarked, we may draw some 
consequences which throw light on this phenomenon. 
1 . All animals and vegetables are not equally proper to 
become subjects of petrifaction ; for in order to this, 
they require a certain degree of firmness, which prevents 
their rotting before this operation is completed. 2. 
Petrifactions are principally formed under the earth ; 
and the place where they are formed must neither be too 
wet nor too dry. 3. All stones which include petrifac- 
tions, or constitute the matter of them, are not original 
productions, but such as are daily formed, such as cal- 
careous stones, indurated clay, compacted sand, the load- 
stone, and similar substances. 4. Petrified bodies are of 
the nature of these stones, being sometimes calcareous, 
sometimes like slate, &c. 5. Hence it appears that 
petrifaction is not the transmutation of one body into 
another, but properly the substitution of one body for 
another; whose appearance and form the stony particles 
assume, for the reason given in the first inference. 

If petrifactions were of no other use than merely to 
throw light on the natural history of our globe, even on 
that account they highly deserve our attention. But we 
may also consider them as proofs of the operations and 
changes which nature works in secret ; and in this also 
the wonderful power and wisdom of God are particularly 



We may observe an admirable gradation in nature ; 
or an insensible progress from the most simple to the 
most complex perfection. Therefore there is no inter- 


mediate space which has not some characteristic of what 
precedes and what follows. In a word, there is neither 
void nor a break in nature. 

Dust and earth are the principle and matter of the 
composition of all solid bodies. Therefore these are 
found in all bodies decomposed by human art. From 
the union of earth with salts, oils, sulphurs, &c., result 
different kinds of earth, more or less compound, light, or 
compact. These lead us insensibly to the mineral king- 
dom. There are a great variety of stones, and their form, 
colour, size, and hardness are very different. In them 
we find all sorts of saline and metallic particles, whence 
minerals and precious stones proceed. In the latter class 
of stones some are found which are fibrous, and have 
laminae, or a kind of leaves, as slate, talc, lythophytes, 
*or stony marine plants, the amianthus, or stonj'-flower 
of mines ; and these lead us from the mineral to the 
vegetable kingdom. The plant which appears to occupy 
the lowest part of vegetable gradation is the truffle. 
Next come the numerous species of mushrooms and 
mosses, between which mould on paste, &c, seems to 
form the connecting medium. All these plants are im- 
perfect, and properly only constitute the limits of the 
vegetable kingdom. The most perfect plants are divided 
into three grand families, which are distributed over the 
earth, viz., herbs, shrubs, and trees. 

The polypus seems to unite the vegetable and animal 
kingdoms. From its outward appearance this singular 
production might be taken for nothing more than a mere 
plant, were it not seen to perform real animal functions. 
This zoophyte seems to form the connecting link between 
plants and animals. "Worms, which are at the com- 
mencement of the animal kingdom, lead us to insects. 
Those worms whose bodies are inclosed in a stony or 
scaly shell seem to unite insects and shell-fish. Between 
them, or rather next to them, are found reptiles ; these, 
by means of the water-snake, are united to fish. The 
flying-fish leads us to fowls. The ostrich, whose feet 
very nearly resemble those of the goat, and who runs 
rather than flies, seems to connect birds with quadrupeds. 
And the ape joins hands with quadrupeds and men. 

There are gradations in human nature as well as in 
m 3 


all other things. Between the most perfect man and the 
ape, there are an astonishing multitude of links. And 
how many must there be between the most perfect man 
and the lowest angel ; and how many more still between 
the highest archangel and the Creator of all things ! 
But we must not consider the Creator as any part of his 
chain. He holds the highest link in his hand, and con- 
nects the whole. As he made all things, so all depend 
on him. Here new gradations become evident; new 
plans, new beauties, and new perfections ! But the gra- 
dations in the spiritual world are hidden from us by an 
impenetrable veil. However, for our comfort, we un- 
derstand from revelation that the immense space between 
God and the cherubim is filled by Christ, who is God 
manifested in the flesh. By him human nature is ex- 
alted and glorified ; by him we are raised to the first 
rank of created beings, and have liberty to approach the 
throne of the Supreme God. 

Let us reflect on these gradations of nature ; the little 
that has been said may suffice to show us that every 
being is intimately blended in its beginnings and endings 
with others, and that the whole universe is linked to- 
gether in all its parts. There is nothing in it without 
design ; nothing but what is an immediate effect from a 
preceding cause, or which does not determine the exist- 
ence of something that is to follow. Nature proceeds 
not by leaps ; all goes on gradually from the component 
to the composed; from the least to the most perfect; 
from the nearest to that which is furthest off; from in- 
animate to animate ; from corporeal to spiritual perfec- 
tion. But how imperfect still is our knowledge of this 
immense chain of beings ! We have only a glimpse of 
this gradation; we know but a few of its boundaries, 
and some ill-connected, broken links of the great chain. 

And yet, defective as our knowledge is in this respect, 
it is nevertheless sufficient to give us the highest idea of 
this admirable series and infinite diversity of beings 
which constitute the universe ; and all leads us to that 
Infinite Being, between whom and us there is a distance 
which no understanding can measure. He is the only 
being who is beyond all the links of the chain of nature. 
From the grain of sand to the seraphim, every being 


owes its existence to him. Let us often endeavour to 
ascend to him on the ladder of his creatures. From the 
dust out of which we were formed, let us on the wings 
of devotion soar to that God who is the first of beings ; 
the infinite, the incomprehensible Jehovah ! Let us long 
for the time in which we shall be introduced into the 
blessed assembly of glorified spirits ; where the universe 
shall be unveiled before us, and where we shall know 
God as we have been known. While we live here 
below, we go on to perfection by insensible gradations. 
We proceed from ignorance to wisdom and understand- 
ing ; from corporeal to spiritual ; from weakness to spi- 
ritual strength. " Our life is only beginning ; it is only 
in its dawn; let us expect a greater light. Let us not 
murmur against him who wills that we should sojourn 
"here awhile in dust and darkness ; he loves that dust 
which he has formed, and if found faithful, will one day 
raise us to the most exalted degrees of glory." 



We already begin to see the ravages which the ap- 
proach of winter makes in the forests and in the gardens. 
All plants, a very few excepted, lose their leaves, which 
are one of their principal ornaments. But what can the 
cause of this be ? That which seems the most natural 
is the cold; for as soon as the first frost sets in, the 
leaves fall in abundance, and the vegetables are soon 
spoiled of their dress. This, indeed, cannot be otherwise, 
seeing the cold causes a stagnation of the sap in plants, 
and prevents the leaves from perspiring. But cold is 
not the only cause of their fall, for this happens even in 
those winters when there is no frost, and to those trees 
which are kept in greenhouses to preserve them from 
the cold; it is probable, therefore, that other causes 
concur to strip the trees of their leaves ; perhaps they 
wither because the- root no longer furnishes sufficient sap 
for their perspiration, for it is evident that the branches 
increase for some time in thickness, when they cease to 


grow in length. When, therefore, the branches contim e 
to grow thick, and the stalks of the leaves do not in- 
crease, their fibres must be necessarily detached from 
the fibres of the branches, and then the leaves must fall 
of course. 

But we must not suppose that these fallen leaves are 
entirely lost, and of no manner of use. Both reason 
and experience declare the contrary. Nothing is useless 
in the world, nothing perishes; and consequently the 
leaves which fall from plants and trees have their use ; 
they rot and become manure for the earth. Snow and 
rain separate the salts from them, and convey them to 
the roots of the trees. Further, where the fallen leaves 
are strewed on the ground, they preserve the roots of 
young plants, become a covering for seeds, and keep up 
a proper degree of humidity and warmth. This is par- 
ticularly the case in respect to the leaves of the oak. 
They furnish an excellent manure, not only to the tree 
itself, but also to the young shoots ; and they are very 
useful for forest pasturages, as they favour the growth of 
the grass, which they cover, and on which they rot. 
These advantages are so important, that fallen leaves 
are seldom collected to make dunghills of, unless they 
have fallen in such abundance as rather to choke the 
grass than to nourish it. 

Leaves may serve for manure in various ways. They 
are spread in stables instead of straw, and they make a 
very good litter for cattle ; and sometimes they are mixed 
with other kinds of manure. The mould they produce 
is very useful in gardens, where layers are made of it, 
which contribute much to the growth of fruits and 
young trees. 

But it may be said, that the fall of the leaf is pecu- 
liarly destructive to a multitude of insects which live on 
the leaves of plants and trees. It is true that autumn 
sweeps away whole swarms of insects with their nests ; 
but does it follow hence that these creatures perish ? 
Why may they not live even on the ground, under these 
very leaves which cover and protect them from the 

The fall of the leaf is an emblem, not only of life, 
but of the frailty of all earthly things. "I am as a 


falling leaf; death walks by my side ; to-day I may 
wither, and to-morrow be converted into dust." 

I hang by a thread, and may be deprived of all my 
beauty and vigour in a moment. A little cold air may 
put a period to my life, and my body be turned into 
earth. But if we leave behind us the well-ripened fruits 
of righteousness, love, and holiness, we shall die honour- 
ably, and may leave this world without regret. 


The heavens display to all the sons of men beauties 
which must be admired. The sun by day, with the 
moon and stars by night, and the majesty of the azure 
vault, strike with deep reverence every judicious mind. 
It is not to be imagined that all those bright lamps of 
heaven are equally distant from us. Astronomers have 
clearly shown that the moon is very near us in respect 
of the sun ; and that the sun, with the whole solar system, 
is quite in our neighbourhood in respect of the fixed 
stars; and that even some of these are immeasurably 
further distant than others. Yet, notwithstanding this 
immense difference of distance, all these bodies appear 
equally distant. From whatever station we view the 
sky, the whole presents itself under the appearance of 
an extensive concave spherical surface, of which the eye 
is the centre. This happens from the constitution of 
the eye, which, being intended principally to be useful 
to us in near objects, is not calculated to perceive any 
difference of distance in bodies so very remote. Hence, 
wherever the eye is situated it is the centre of its own 
view; and whether we were placed on the moon, the 
sun, or any of the planets, we should see still an exact 
sphere of stars, having its centre in the place we occupy. 
In this spherical surface all the heavenly bodies seem to 
be either fixed in their place, or traversing it in various 
circles. The former have received the denomination of 
fixed stars, and the others, which are' comparatively few, 
:ire the moon, the sun, the planets, and comets. The 
fixed stars visible to the naked eye are between two and 


three thousand, but a good telescope opens to our sight 
thousands of thousands, an innumerable multitude ; and 
the better the glasses, the more we discover, These are 
disseminated through the sky, not in regular order of 
equidistant position, but in groups, named asterisms, or 
constellations. A constellation is, therefore, an assem- 
blage of stars seen near each other ; and the better to 
distinguish them, astronomers have reduced them to the 
forms of various animals and known things, as men, 
bulls, bears, &c. ; a crown, a harp, a balance, &c. These 
figures seem to be taken from the fables of heathen 
mythology, and are retained by the moderns to prevent 

This division is of great antiquity. Tn the most 
ancient book of Job, Orion, Arcturus, and the Pleiades 
are mentioned; and in the writings of Homer and 
Hesiod we frequently meet the names of the constel- 
lations. How extensive the space through which these 
luminaries are dispersed! Let us but for a moment 
contemplate a truth well known to men of science, 
namely, that if we be removed from our present situation 
to any point of space within the distance of two thou- 
sand millions ot English miles in any direction whatever, 
yet we should have the very same aspect of the fixed 
stars : such is the astonishing distance of the nearest of 
them, that two persons, stationed at the great interval of 
four thousand millions of miles, would scarcely, if at all, 
discern the least difference in their apparent positions, 
angular distances, magnitudes, or brilliancy. The same 
visible sphere, the same constellations, with the same 
number of visible stars in each, would be seen in the 
same part of the heavens, and in the same order ; which 
things would also hold in respect of those stars which 
cannot be seen without a glass, called telescopic stars. 
Thus we behold a part of the dominions of Him who is 
Lord of lords; we are filled with reverence; we are 
struck dumb ; praise sits silent on our tongues. We are 
astonished that we could revolt from his government, 
and still more that he should condescend to bring us 
back again to his favour and family. He puts life within 
us, and our silence should only break forth in expressions 


of gratitude, joy, and holy songs of praise to Him who 
is the Author of our being, the Preserver of our lives, 
and the Redeemer of our souls. 



We can only form conjectures concerning the inside 
of the earth. Those who work in mines have not been 
able to go lower than 900 feet. Were they to attempt 
to go much further, the great pressure of the air would 
kill them, supposing even that they could protect them- 
selves from the water which increases in proportion as 
we descend. But what is the depth of 900 feet, in com- 
parison of the semi-diameter of the earth, which is 3982 
miles ? The inside of the earth must consequently be 
in a great measure unknown to us. Miners themselves 
have scarcely as yet penetrated through its first crust. 
All that we know is, that after we have dug some hun- 
dreds of feet in depth, this upper crust is found to be 
composed of different strata or beds, placed one on the 
top of the other. These strata or layers are very much 
mixed, and their direction, matter, thickness, and relative 
position vary considerably in different places. 

Generally under common earth in gardens clay and 
fat earth are found, and sometimes alternate layers oi 
clay, sand, and marie. 

The manner in which these different strata of earth 
are classed is quite arbitrary ; they may be less or more 
extended ; but in comparing the accounts given by dif- 
ferent writers, the following appears to be the best ; and 
this divides earth into seven different classes : — 

1. Black earth. This is composed of putrefied vege- 
table and animal substances. It contains many salts 
and much inflammable matter. This is what is com- 
monly called dung. 

2. Clay. This is more compact than black earth, and 
retains water longer on its surface. 

3. Sandy earth. This is hard, light, and dry; it 
neither retains water, nor is dissolved in it. It is the 


worst kind of earth, though some kind of plants may 
grow in it. 

4. Marie. This is softer, more mealy, and attracts 
moisture better. 

5. Bog or moss earth. This contains a vitriolic acid, 
which is too acid for plants. 

6. Chalk. This is dry, hard, and brittle; notwith- 
standing, a few plants can thrive in it. And, 

6. Scabrous or stony earth. The smoothest stones, 
however bare of earth, are at least covered with moss, 
which is a mere vegetable production; and birch is 
known to grow between stones, and in the clefts of rocks, 
and grow also to a considerable height. 

The Creator has most wisely arranged these different 
kinds of earths, of which the strata are composed. For, 
to mention only the principal advantages which result 
from them, these different layers of sand, gravel, and 
light earth give an easy passage to fresh water, which is 
filtered in passing through these different beds, becomes 
soft, and is afterwards distributed on all hands for the 
supply of men and animals. These strata are also the 
reservoirs and canals of springs and fountains. And it 
is remarkable, that such canals are found in every country 
over the whole globe, and that they are in general com- 
posed of light earth. If it be sometimes mixed with a 
more harsh and gravelly soil, the water is consequently 
still better purified. This variety of soils is of great 
utility in the vegetable kingdom ; for it is owing to this 
that herbs, plants, and trees grow of themselves in cer- 
tain countries, while in others they cannot be produced 
without the assistance of art. All that art can do is to 
imitate nature, which prepares and proportions to plants 
which grow of themselves the soil, nutritious juices, and 
warmth which are necessary to their, vegetation. This 
same variety of soils is the cause why certain herbs, 
roots, and trees have their internal structure different 
from those of the same species which grow on other 
soils. It often happens that some plants thrive, while 
others languish in the same soil. The same fruits have 
a different flavour in some countries from what they have 
in others. Plants whose roots are weak, small, and 
delicate, and which have but little sap, should be sown 

WINE. 257 

and planted in a sandy, light soil, that the roots may 
extend themselves without meeting with too much re- 
sistance ; a soil into which the rain may easily penetrate, 
and where the roots may not meet with too many saline, 
acid, or oleaginous particles. 

It is asserted, that in the space of forty-eight hours 
lettuce, cauliflower, salads, &c, may he produced fit to 
eat, if the seed be first steeped in brandy, and the ground 
in which they are sowed mixed with pigeon's dung and 
powder of slacked lime. A proper preparation of the 
soil is indispensably necessary for vegetation. 

What has been said should induce us to acknowledge 
with what wisdom the Creator has disposed each soil for 
the production of plants, and for the benefit of his crea- 
tures. It would, therefore, be very unjust to complain 
of the sterility of such and such soils, for the Creator 
has ever taken care that the different countries which he 
has assigned for the residence of man should produce 
everything necessary for his subsistence. If there be 
any soils which appear less fertile than others, the Crea- 
tor has compensated that defect by greater advantages ; 
or he has given the inhabitants of such places greater 
skill and ability for labour. 



"Wine is a gift of the, divine goodness, and should 
excite our admiration and gratitude. It might have 
been thought sufficient that God has given us bread and 
other aliments necessary for our support in abundance ; 
but he has not confined himself to this ; he has provided 
also for our comfort and pleasure ; therefore, to render 
our lives still more comfortable, and to confirm and 
preserve our health, he has created the vine. 

Other beverages, whether natural or artificial, do not 
produce these effects in the same degree. Wine alone 
has the power of banishing sadness, and of inspiring 
that cheerfulness which is equally necessary to the well- 
being of our bodies and minds. Its spirituous parts 


speedily recruit our exhausted strength. Bread strength- 
ens man for labour, but wine enables him to act with 
courage, and renders his labour pleasant. Spirituous 
liquors, produced by art, cannot diffuse over the counte- 
nance that air of cheerfulness which wine gives it. And 
here let us reflect on God, who has communicated to 
this salutary juice qualities so superior to the baseness of 
its origin, and the sterility of its native soil. The Crea- 
tor has produced these effects by the mixture of oily, 
saline, and volatile particles, of which all wines are com- 

But how greatly is the divine goodness manifested in 
the abundance and variety of wines. Their different 
kinds are innumerable. They vary in colour, smell, 
taste, quality, and duration. We might almost say that 
there are nearly as many different kinds of wine as there 
are soils ; for the Creator has assigned to each country 
such wines as are best adapted to the climate, the con- 
stitution, and mode of life of the inhabitants. 

But how blameably have men acted in reference to 
the use of wine ! There have been some legislators who 
have severely prohibited the use of it, and this, not by 
considerations drawn from the health and manners of 
the people, but for false reasons of economy, and some- 
times merely from fanaticism. It is at least certain, that 
to these causes united we must attribute Mohammed's 
prohibition of this liquor. This objection to wine is the 
more unreasonable, as the greater part of the people 
who prohibit the use of the liquor permit the eating of 

Another fault of which men are guilty is the adultera- 
tion of wines, especially that which is made by lime, 
whitelead, litharge, and other noxious ingredients. In 
this the human heart discovers itself in all its deformity 
and sinfulness. Can there be anything much more detes- 
table? A poor sick man endeavours to assuage his 
sufferings and recruit his exhausted strength by a little 
wine, which he purchases by a part of his scanty earn- 
ings; and they who adulterate this article have the 
barbarity to increase his sufferings, and render him more 
miserable, by presenting him with a poisoned cup, from 
which the unfortunate person drinks death instead of 

wine. 259 

the life and strength he expected! But a still more 
shameful and deplorable abuse of it is, that some men, 
by an immoderate use of it, poison themselves. This 
liquor is a wholesome remedy ; it supports animal life, 
and contains vital spirits which warm and animate the 
humours, and increase and establish the strength. But 
its continual and excessive use prevents all these good 
effects. Thus used, it is to the human body what so 
much manure is to the garden : it hastens the fruit, but 
destroys the tree. A wise gardener will not continually 
manure and enrich his ground; he does this only in 
proper measures and in proper times. He manures the 
trees when it is necessary, and gives them that portion 
only which their wants and nature require. This is the 
proper regimen for wine ; he who does not attend to it 
mil ruin both his body and soul. 

Let us profit by these counsels, and never use wine 
without reflection ; nor for the mere pleasure of drink- 
ing. Let us ever remember, that without the divine 
blessing the most necessary aliments would fail; that 
it is our heavenly Father who gives this wholesome fluid 
to strengthen and refresh us ; and that without his bless- 
ing, wine itself would become a poison and a principle of 
death. We should seriously attend to these things, and 
think on the account we must give to God for the use 
we have made of the aliments which his divine goodness 
has granted us ; we should therefore take care that we 
abuse none of them, but make such a moderate use of 
wine, and every other blessing, that our health may not 
be injured, nor our understanding disturbed; that we 
may never be found incapable of performing the duties 
which Christianity and our secular business require of 
us. We shall not then seek our happiness in wine, but, 
on the contrary, rather abstain from it, or any other gra- 
tification at particular seasons, that we may save some- 
thing for the poor and the distressed. Thus the aliments 
which God condescends to give us will excite our grati- 
tude and love more and more to the Dispenser of all 
good ; we should use them only that . we may be the 
more fit to serve God with zeal and fervour, and fill up 
the duties of our respective callings. And we should 
remember particularly that these divine gifts, however 


excellent, are the least of those which God's grace is 
unceasingly dispensing ; and that blessings and pleasures 
infinitely more perfect are reserved for the righteous in 
the world to come. 



This is the time when most of those birds, which in 
summer found habitations and food in our fields, gardens, 
and forests, are about to leave our climate and pass into 
other countries. Very few spend the winter with us ; 
the yellow-hammer, the chaffinch, the crow, the raven, 
the sparrow, the wren, the partridge, the robin, and the 
fieldfare, are the principal. Most of the rest hide them- 
selves, or leave us entirely. This migration is wonderful 
in every point of view : if, then, we have not sufficiently 
considered these creatures during their stay with us, 
we should at least pay some attention to them now, 
when taking their leave. Perhaps this may lead us to 
consider them more particularly when they return in the 

Some kinds of birds, without taking any high flight, 
or setting off in troops, draw gradually towards the south, 
to seek those seeds and fruits which they like best, but 
they speedily return. Others, which are termed birds of 
passage, collect at certain seasons, and fly off in large 
flocks to other climates. Some others are content to pass 
from one country to another at certain times, attracted 
by the air and food. Others pass the seas, and under- 
take voyages of a surprising length. The best known 
birds of passage are the quail, the swallow, the wild- 
duck, the plover, the snipe, and the crane, with some 
others, which live on worms. In spring the cranes pass 
from Africa into Europe, in order to enjoy a moderate 
warmth. They come in flocks often like clouds; and 
sometimes, being nearly spent, they alight on vessels, 
and are taken without any difficulty. Swallows act in 
a different way : many cross the seas, and many continue 
in Europe, and hide themselves in holes of the earth, or 


in marshes, fastening themselves together, claw against 
claw, and beak against beak. They pile themselves in 
heaps in such places as are unfrequented by men and 
beasts. Wild ducks and cranes also go at the approach 
of winter to seek milder climates. They all assemble 
on a certain day and set off in a flock. They commonly 
arrange themselves in two lines, united in one point like 
a wedge, or an inverted ^, with a bird at the head, and 
others following in the two lines, more and more ex- 
tended. The duck or crane, which forms the point, cuts 
the air, and renders the passage easier to those that 
follow, whose beaks always rest on the tails of those 
before. The leader is charged with this commission only 
for a time ; he passes from the head to the tail, rests 
himself, and is replaced by another. But all birds of 
passage do not go in flocks ; there are some which travel 
alone ; others with their females and young ; and others 
in small flocks. They perform their journey in a very 
short time. It has been computed that they may easily 
go 200 miles in six hours each day, supposing they can 
take rest at intervals, or during the night. According 
to this calculation, they may pass from our climates to 
the equinoctial line in seven or eight days. This con- 
jecture has been verified, as swallows have been seen on 
the coasts of Senegal on the ninth of October ; i. e. eight 
or nine days after they left Europe. 

These migrations cannot be too much admired. Doubt- 
less the difference of heat and cold, and want of food, 
warns them to change their abode. But how comes it, 
when the air is so mild that they might still remain 
with us, and their food is still found in sufficient quan- 
tity, that they never fail to set off at the appointed time ? 
How do they know that they shall find in other climates 
the necessary food and warmth ? How is it that they 
all take their departure from us at the same time, as if 
they had beforehand unanimously fixed the day of their 
journey ? How can they, notwithstanding the darkness 
of the nights, and their ignorance of the road, and the 
countries to which they go, still hold on a direct course? 
These and other questions on this interesting subject 
are very embarrassing, and hitherto have received no 
satisfactory answer ; probably because we do not suffi- 


ciently know the instinct and nature of those creatures. 
However, we must acknowledge the kind direction of 
Providence in these migrations. What wonderful' means 
does Providence use to feed and preserve certain classes 
of birds ! With what tender care does he provide for 
their subsistence when it fails them in some countries ! 
Let us learn from this, that all in the great empire of 
nature is arranged with the utmost wisdom. Is not in- 
stinct the same to birds of passage as reason is to man ? 
A.nd does it not teach them what reason, if they had 
It, would dictate, viz., to change their habitations in 
proper time? 

How much ashamed should we be of our unbelief, of 
our distrust and perplexities, when we reflect on these 
admirable directions of Providence ! These voyages of 
the birds should instruct us in our duty. How is it that 
we so often abandon ourselves to discouragement, 
anxious cares, and fears ! Will not that God who so 
guides the fowls of the air, lead us with equal tender- 
ness, whom he has endued with reason ? Can man, the 
king of animals, be less an object of the tender care of 
God than they? The whole earth is the Lord's; and 
should we be found in any country where we cannot 
fulfil the counsel of God, his beneficent hand can con- 
duct us to such places as shall be more suitable to us. 
Let us, therefore, follow his merciful directions with con- 
fidence and joy. 

" I will walk with God my leader, nor will I choose 
a crooked path, but take that which he marks out for 
me. He wills my happiness, and I cannot be miserable 
while led by my kind Father. I will therefore follow 
him step by step with a filial confidence." 



The same diversity may be observed among trees as 
is seen in other parts of the vegetable kingdom. Some, 
as the oak, are distinguished by their strength and hard- 
ness. Others are tall and slender, as the elm and fir. 


There are others, as the thorn and box-tree, which never 
arrive to a considerable height. Some are knotty and 
have rough harks, while others are smooth and beautiful, 
as the maple, the poplar, and the birch. Some are used 
in those precious works which adorn the apartments of 
the rich and great ; while others are employed for the 
most common and necessary purposes. Some are so 
slight and weak that a little wind overthrows them; 
others are firm, and resist the violence of the northern 
blasts. We see some that grow to an extraordinary 
height and thickness ; and each year, for a century 
past, seems to have added something to their size. 
Others require but a few years to come to their full 

Pliny admired, in his time, trees out of whose bark 
boats were constructed, capable of holding thirty men I 
But what would he have said of those trees of Congo, 
which may be hollowed out into boats capable of holding 
200 persons! Or of those trees which, according to 
accounts of travellers, are eleven feet in diameter; and 
on which they can carry a load of four or five hundred 
quintals, or upwards of 50,000 lbs. weight! There is 
one of this kind in Malabar, which we are informed 
is fifty feet in circumference ! The cocoa-tree, which is 
a species of palm, is of this kind ; some of them have 
leaves broad enough to cover twenty persons. The talli- 
pot, a tree which grows in the island of Ceylon, and in 
height resembles the mast of a ship, is also celebrated 
for its leaves ; they are said to be so large as easily to 
cover fifteen or twenty men from the rain. They are so 
pliant, when dry, that they may be folded up like a fan : 
in this state they are extremely light, and not thicker 
than a man's arm. Twenty-three old cedars still remain 
on Mount Lebanon, which some think have escaped the 
ravages of the deluge : if this be so, they must be the 
strongest trees in the world. A learned man who has 
'seen them assures us that ten men cannot fathom one of 
them. They must therefore be thirty or thirty-six feet 
in circumference, which seems even too little for trees 
which are supposed to have lasted nearly six thousand 
years. The gum-trees which are found in the Ameri- 


can islands are ordinarily twentj'-six feet in circumfer- 

It is not likely that these cedars of Lebanon are as 
old as has been reported, although it is well known that 
some trees live to a very great age. There are apple- 
trees which are certainly not less than a thousand years 
old ! And if we compute the quantity of fruit which 
such a tree bears annually, we must, as has been noticed 
elsewhere, be astonished at the prodigious fecundity of 
a single pippin ; which would have been sufficient to 
have furnished all Europe with trees and fruits of this 

This great variety among trees should remind us of 
the difference we observe among men, relative to their 
occupations in life, their modes of thinking, their talents, 
and the service they perform. As there is not one well- 
grown tree in the forest which may not be of some use 
to its owner ; so there is no member of society but may 
be useful in his particular profession. One, like the oak, 
is remarkable for his firmness and unshaken constancy, 
which nothing can move. Another has not so much 
strength as the former, but he has more complaisance 
and address ; he becomes all things to all men, is as 
flexible as an osier, and bends with every breath. If 
he be an upright man, he will comply only in things 
innocent and lawful ; but if he be indifferent about God, 
his duty, and religion, he will always take the strongest 

However different trees may be from each other, they 
all belong to the Ruler of the universe ; all are nourished 
by the same earth ; all are vivified by the same rain, and 
warmed by the same sun. Would to God that all men, 
whatever diversity there might be among them, would 
unite to acknowledge that they are all equally the crea- 
tures of God ; equally subject to his power, equally the 
objects of his tenderest cares ; that they owe their being 
and support to him ; and have received from his hands 
the various talents with which they are enriched ! The 
cedar which rears its majestic head on the top of Leba- 
non, and the bramble which creeps at his feet, are both 
nourished by the juices of the earth, and the rains of 


heaven. Thus the divine blessing is equally necessary 
to the rich and the poor. The most eminent and most 
powerful among men should ever remember that they 
owe their elevation and grandeur to God; that they 
are supported by him alone ; and that in a moment 
he can root them up, overturn, and reduce them to 

This consideration will help to repress every motion of 
pride which may rise in their hearts, and inspire them 
with that submission and obedience which they owe to 
the author of their being. 


Temperature of the weather in different regions 
of the earth. 

It seems that the state and warmth of countries should 
be regulated according to their relative position to the 
sun, as that planet casts his rays in the same way on all 
countries which are in the same degree of latitude. But 
experience teaches us that heat and cold, and tempera- 
ture in general, depend on many other circumstances. 
The seasons may Le very different in places under the 
same parallel ; and, on the contrary, are often very much 
alike in very different climates. As therefore acci- 
dental causes may make the heat very different in the 
same latitude, and since it is very far from being always 
such as the distance of the sun seems to require, it is 
difficult to determine exactly the seasons and tempera- 
ture of any country. 

The vicinity of the sea causes a milder climate. Eng- 
land and the coasts of Norway are indubitable proofs of 
this. The sea may be frozen near the shore because it is 
there mixed with a good deal of fresh water, but this 
doos not take place at any considerable distance from the 
land ; partly because of the salt which is diffused through 
the sea, and partly because of its continual agitation. 
Thus the cold at sea never comes to the freezing point ; 
during the winter the adjacent countries benefit by it, 
the temperature of the weather being much milder. On 



the contrary, the more a place is elevated above the sur- 
face of the water, the greater the cold is. The air is not 
only more thin, and consequently less warm, but the 
greater part of the heat which is produced by the earth's 
reflecting the sun's rays does not take place on high lands, 
but remains in low places and vallies, where the warmth 
is always greatest. Besides, if there be, as some think, 
a subterranean central fire, the higher lands are at the 
greatest distance from it. Quito is almost under the 
Line, but its elevation causes the heat to be more mode- 
rate. However, such countries have always a serene and 
light air, and the temperature is pretty equal. High 
mountains attract the clouds ; hence rains and tempests 
are more frequent in hilly countries than elsewhere. 
And we know that it scarcely ever rains in the plains of 
Arabia. Countries where there are great and extensive 
forests are very cold ; the ice in such places melts more 
slowly in winter, because the ground is covered with 
the shade of the trees. This ice cools the superior air, 
and this fresh cold prevents the thaw. 

Though this subject is thus generally accounted for, 
yet it does not appear that the milder state of the air in 
the vicinity of seas is owing to the water not freezing ; 
it may have a contrary effect ; for as water arrives at the 
freezing point, and especially during the process of 
freezing, it gives out an abundance of heat, and absorbs 
much in thawing, and therefore tends to equalize the 

W hat also moderates the heat in warm climates is, 
that the days there are not very long ; and the sun does 
not continue long above the horizon. In colder coun- 
tries the days are very long, and this is the reason why 
the warmth is greater in these places than might be ex- 
pected. The serenity of the sky, the clear light of the 
moon, and the long twilights, render the long nights 
more supportable. Under the torrid zone the seasons 
are not distinguished so much by winter and summer, 
as by dry and wet weather; for when it ought to be 
summer, or when the sun rises most above the horizon, 
and the rays fall in the most direct manner possible, then 
the rains commence, and continue for a longer or shorter 
tune. But in those countries, the most pleasant season 


is when the sun has the least elevation. In the coun- 
tries heyond the tropics, the weather is more uncertain 
than within the tropics. In spring and autumn the 
winds prevail most. In winter the earth freezes to a 
greater or less depth, but scarcely ever beyond three feet 
in our climate. In the more northerly countries it freezes 
much deeper in winter, and thaws but a few feet in 
summer. The ponds, lakes, and even the rivers are 
covered with ice, first near the shore, and afterwards 
over the whole surface. The different quality of soils, 
and the property they have of retaining less or more of 
the heat they have acquired, contribute something to 
the difference of climates. 

In all these arrangements we may discover such 
wisdom and goodness as we cannot sufficiently admire, 
in regulating the temperature and seasons of different 
countries thus, the Creator has rendered every part of 
the earth habitable by men and other animals. We 
often form false ideas concerning the torrid and frigid 
zones, and foolishly imagine that the inhabitants of those 
regions must be the most wretched creatures in the uni- 
verse. Happily for the world and for the great satis- 
faction of all feeling hearts, it is certain that the people 
of the most distant countries, not excepting even those 
under the line, or near the North Pole, enjoy a portion 
of happiness suited to their nature and destination. 
Every country has its advantages and disadvantages, 
which so counterbalance each other, that, laying preju- 
dice aside, it would be difficult to determine which of 
these countries deserves the preference. There is no 
corner of the earth in which the goodness of God is not 
manifested. " From our climates to the most distant 
zones, all is full of the goodness of the Lord. All the 
inhabitants of the globe experience his paternal kindness. 
Not one of his creatures is forgotten. All that breathe 
derive life, nourishment, happiness, and joy from him." 

n 2 



The air by which the earth is encompassed is neither 
so pure nor so subtile as the ether, being impregnated 
with a multitude of particles or exhalations, which are 
continually detached from the earth, and especially from 
the waters. This is called the atmosphere. Its lower 
region, or what is next the earth, is pressed by the supe- 
rior air, and is consequently more dense. This is suffi- 
ciently evident to persons who ascend high mountains ; 
their respiration becomes more difficult in proportion as 
they ascend. But it is not possible to determine the 
exact height of the atmosphere, for men cannot ascend 
very high in it. Neither can we infer with certainty, 
from the duration of twilight, how far the mass of air 
extends ; for, granting that the morning twilight begins, 
and that of the evening ends, when the sun is eighteen 
degrees below the horizon, and that the latter is produced 
by the rays which strike the earth, and are reflected by 
the highest parts of the atmosphere, still there would 
remain many difficulties to be cleared up. However this 
may be, the atmosphere is generally divided into three 
regions. The lower region extends from the earth to 
the place where the air is no longer heated by the rays 
which the earth reflects. This region is the wannest. 
The middle region begins where the preceding one ends, 
and goes to the summit of the highest mountains, or 
even the highest clouds ; this is the space where rain, 
hail, and snow are engendered. This region is much 
colder than the preceding, as it is not heated by the rays 
of the sun which pass through in a perpendicular line. 
But the third region is yet colder ; it extends from the 
middle region to the utmost height of the atmosphere, 
but its limits cannot be exactly ascertained. 

The particles which descend from the earth into the 
atmosphere, are of different sorts; some aqueous, some 
metallic, some sulphureous, &c. Now as some of these 
abound more in one place than in another, hence the 


great variety in the air, which is very sensible even at 
a moderate height. A heavy air is more favourable to 
health than a light one, because it promotes the circu- 
lation of the blood, and insensible perspiration. "When 
the air is heavy, it is generally clear ; whereas a light air 
is generally accompanied with clouds, rain, or snow, 
which render it damp. Exhalations increase the weight 
of the air, and particularly when the heat causes them 
to ascend to a great height. The air continues light, 
notwithstanding the aqueous vapours with which it is 

Too great a dryness of the air is very injurious to the 
human body; but this seldom happens for any length 
of time, except in sandy countries. A damp air is very 
unwholesome, because it relaxes the fibres, obstructs 
"insensible perspiration, and if heat accompany the damp- 
ness, it disposes the humours to putrefy. An air too hot 
dilates all the fluids of the body, and occasions sweat- 
ings, which bring on weakness and oppression. On the 
other hand, when the air is too cold, the solid parts con- 
tract excessively, and the fluids are condensed; hence 
result obstructions and inflammations. The best air is 
that which is neither too heavy nor too light, too moist 
nor too dry, and which is not impregnated with noxious 

It is in the atmosphere that clouds, rain, snow, dew, 
lightning, and many other aerial phenomena are engen- 
dered. It is to the atmosphere that we owe our morning 
and evening twilight ! As the rays of light are refracted 
and reflected, and bent in different directions in this 
mass of air, we see them before the sun rises, and enjoy 
them some time after he is set. Hence it is that the 
people under the polar circles enjoy some rays of light 
even while the' sun is for a long time below their horizon. 

The atmosphere is the habitation of the winds, which 
have such influence on the fertility of the earth and the 
health of men. Cities and provinces would be speedily 
deprived of their inhabitants, and changed into dreary 
deserts, were the air never to be agitated. The whole 
world would become one charnel-house, if there were 
not frequent storms and tempests to purify the air, and 
disperse those noxious vapours and exhalations, the bane 


of men and beasts, which are continually floating in the 

What reasons have we to bless the Creator for this 
advantageous arrangement of nature ? Were there no 
atmosphere, or were it different from what it is, our 
earth would be a chaos, a most wretched abode for its 
different inhabitants. Let us acknowledge with grati- 
tude the gracious wisdom of our Creator, who has regu- 
lated everything in nature, so as to promote the happiness 
of all the beings he has formed. We should always 
remember, that every advantage we derive from the 
atmosphere comes from that God who is the dispenser 
of all the blessings of nature. A proper consideration 
of the benefits which we receive from God cannot fail 
to excite every emotion of piety and gratitude. Let us 
love our Creator with our whole souls, and devote our- 
selves entirely to him. 



That God has not abandoned the life of man, and the 
preservation of the human race, to blind chance, but 
watches over us with paternal care, evidently appears 
from the exact proportion in which, in every nation of 
the world, and in all times, men come into life, and de- 
part from it. By means of this equilibrium, the earth 
is neither too thinly peopled, nor overstocked with in- 
habitants. Yet the number of those who are born is 
generally greater than those who die ; for we find that 
twelve or thirteen persons are bom annually for ten that 
die. Thus the human race is continually multiplying. 
Were not this the case, and were the number of deaths 
greater than the number of births, in a few ages a whole 
country would be depopulated, particularly as various 
accidents may injure population. The principal hin- 
derances to population are pestilence, war, famine, celi- 
bacy, and confinement in cities, especially those which 
are very populous, for in such nearly as many die as are 


Baptismal registers show us, that more males than 
females are born. The proportion is nearly twenty-one 
to twenty. So that where 1050 males are born, there 
are only 1000 females. But death, the military life, and 
divers accidents, restore the balance between the two 
sexes. In cities there are generally more women than 
men ; in the country the case is reversed. 

The number of children, relative to that of families, 
is also regulated with great wisdom. It is computed 
that in sixty-six families there are only about ten chil- 
dren baptized annually. In a populous country, out of 
fifty or fifty-four persons, only one marries each year ; 
and each marriage, one with another, produces four chil- 
dren ; but in cities, only twenty-five children are reck- 
oned to ten marriages. Men capable of bearing arms 
"make the fourth part, ordinarily, of the inhabitants of a 

By comparing the bills of mortality of different coun- 
tries it is found, that in common years, i. e., in such 
years as there is no epidemic disorder, there dies, 

1 out of 40, in villages. 

1 out of 32, in small towns. 

1 out of 28, in middling towns. 

1 out of 24, in very populous cities ; and 

1 out of 36, in a whole province. 

Out of each thousand twenty-eight die annually. Out 
of .100 children who die each year, there are always 
three dead born, but there is scarcely one out of 200 
that dies in the birth. Out of 115 women that die, only 
one dies in childbed ; and but one out of 400 dies in 
labour. The greatest mortality among children is in the 
first year. Out of 1000 about 298 die before they are 
one year old. Between the first and second year only 
eighty die out of 1000. But from the thirteenth to the 
fourteenth or fifteenth years, the number is so small that 
it scarcely ever amounts to above two in 1000. This 
therefore is the time of life in which there is the least 
danger. Some learned men have observed, that there 
are more women than men who live from seventy to 
ninety years, but that there are more men than women 
who exceed ninety and live to 100. 


3,000,000,000 of persons at least may live at one time 
on the earth ; but there is scarcely one third of that 
number, or at most 1,080,000,000. Some writers have 
given the following proportions : 650,000,000 for Asia, 
150,000,000 for Africa, 150,000,000 for America, and 
130,000,000 for Europe. 

The most natural inference to be drawn from this is, 
that God is most tenderly concerned for the life of man, 
and that it is precious in his sight. Is it possible that 
such proportion could exist between births and deaths, 
and that this should be so regular and so constant at all 
times, and in all places, if the wisdom of God had not 
established and his province maintained it ? 



We now behold beauteous nature, which in spring 
ravished all our senses, and afforded us such diversified 
pleasures, subjected to the common law of all created 
things. Its beauty has disappeared, and every day brings 
about new revolutions ; and each succeeding one more 
disastrous than the other. But such is the lot of nature, 
it contains in itself the sources of the most afflicting 

How much mischief is occasioned by the overflowing 
of seas and rivers, heavy rains, and the melting of snow 
and ice ! Whole villages drowned, fruit-trees torn up 
by the roots, crops of corn, &c, laid under water, whole 
herds carried away, present to our view fearful monu- 
ments of the destructive power of the elements. 

A shipwreck appears a less fatal disaster ; but a whole 
commonwealth might have been formed by those men 
whom the sea has in this instance swallowed up. Im- 
mense sums, which probably whole ages were employed 
in collecting, lost in a moment ! Whole families are 
ruined by a shipwreck; the appearance of the stormy 
sea, the lamentable cries of the dying, the crash of the 
vessel which is wrecked — what terror must all these things 
inspire ! 


What calamities also proceed from excessive heat, and 
a long drought ! Grass and plants languish, the ground 
is dried up, and we are nearly stifled with clouds of 
burning dust. The waters grow gradually corrupt, and 
become a deadly drink for the flocks. Heat and putre- 
faction multiply insects prodigiously, and they lay waste 
all before them ; they devour the country, and if they 
die to-day, they appear again to-morrow in new gene- 
rations. Famine, the horrible companion of death, 
comes next, and the pestilence walks by its side ! One 
bad year, a war, a contagious disorder, may occasion all 
these evils. 

What confusion and desolation are produced by earth- 
quakes, which become more and more common ! Even 
in the very bowels of the earth, a destroying fire causes 
pestilential vapours to boil up, which spread death in 
all directions. Suddenly, and often in the dead of night, 
the earth bellows and shakes; whole cities are over- 
turned, and thousands of criminals are swallowed up ! 
With what a formidable aspect do volcanoes appear ! 
They are emblems and forerunners of the devouring 
flames of the great and last day ! Here we behold 
nature, in other respects so lovely, in a terrible point of 
view. At this awful spectacle we can scarcely refrain 
from saying, How imperfect and defective is everything 
except the Creator himself! Many people make nature 
their god, and its beauties cause them to forget that 
Supreme Being from whom these beauties spring. Let 
us learn the true state of all earthly things, and acknow- 
ledge the advantages which the love of God has be- 
yond everything to which our hearts can be attached. 
To feel delight in the contemplation of the august attri- 
butes of God, to be made partakers of his grace, to feel 
that he is our sovereign good, is to triumph over all the 
desolations of nature. Besides, what can be more proper 
to increase our love and gratitude to him than the recol- 
lection that he well knows how to make all these cala- 
mities work together for our good ? 

These apparent disorders in nature prevent evils in- 
comparably greater, which would not fail to take place 
if destructive matter, fire, and subterraneous vapours 
continued to be heaped and pent up in the bowels of the 

n 3 


earth. Volcanoes and inundations preserve us often from 
greater calamities. Burning heats serve to dry that 
ground which in other places had been laid under water. 
Plague and famine free the world from a multitude of 
its vicious inhabitants, under which it groans. The ex- 
traordinary mortality which sometimes prevails among 
men is a very wise means of maintaining the proper ba- 
lance in respect to number, and of preventing an exces- 
sive population. Nevertheless we may grant that God 
would employ fewer scourges on the earth, if his holiness 
and justice did not oblige him thus to punish from time 
to time the crimes of those who inhabit it. 

When we are mere spectators of the devastations 
which sometimes happen here below, and are not imme- 
diately interested in them, it is very right that our gra- 
titude to the Supreme Being, who has preserved us, 
should be accompanied with sentiments of compassion 
and charity for our suffering fellow-creatures. Let us 
never be insensible to the misfortunes of others, nor hear 
with indifference the recital of the calamities of people 
the most remote, as if nothing should affect us but that 
in which we had a personal concern. In the immense 
chain of terrestrial events, there is not a single link, how- 
ever distant, with which we have not some connexion. 
Were the wretched people who suffered so many dis- 
tresses greater sinners than we are ? Why are they fal- 
len, while we stand upright ? Are the places we inhabit 
less defiled with iniquity than those where earthquakes 
and volcanoes have made such ravages ? The last catas- 
trophe of our nature will be still more terrible to us. 
The world is not eternal ; after having experienced ex- 
cessive calamities of every kind, its utter destruction shall 
at last arrive. Nature still flourishes, but she visibly 
grows old. It is only by the dint of industry and labour 
that we derive from the earth what was spontaneously pre- 
sented to our forefathers, and what they collected almost 
without trouble. Let this earth of our pilgrimage perish, 
seeing it must perish! Here we have no permanent 
city ; may we know and seek that city which is above, 
whose founder and builder is the living God ! 

We should lament over those countries, towns, and 
villages which are laid waste ; we should be ready to 


succour them, and divide our bread with the wretched 
inhabitants. O that they may humble themselves under 
the mighty hand of God, and patiently suffer the ills 
which he sends them ! Let them recollect that many of 
their brethren have suffered similar distresses ; they 
were in misery, but their wounds are now healed, their 
granaries are now better supplied than they ever were, 
and their burnt houses are changed into palaces. To 
create and destroy is the work of God, and will continue 
to be so till the end of time. If he never destroyed, we 
should never see any new creations ; we should have no 
occasion for acts of resignation and patience ; we should 
not sufficiently know the value of that religion which 
now confirms and comforts us, and raises us above all 
afflictions and distresses. Here we have firm footing ; 
and let this be the result of all our reflections : God saw 
all that he made, and behold, it was very good. " Yes, 
Lord, thou art clothed with splendour and majesty ; thy 
judgments are holy and just ; all thy works are full of 
grace and truth. Who would not acknowledge thy 
power and wisdom, and bless thee with transports of joy, 
thou Lord of the universe !" 



The circulation of the blood is the most mysterious 
and important of all the motions performed in or by the 
animal body. In this circulation we observe a certain 
grandeur which strikes the mind, and makes us feel the 
limits of the human understanding ; and inspires us with 
a profound veneration for the supreme wisdom of our 
Divine Creator. 

The blood circulates continually in our bodies ; and 
this is the principle of its motion. The heart, which is 
situated within the breast between the two lobes of the 
lungs, is a fleshy substance, which has two cavities, se- 
parated from each other by a partition. This machine is 
in continual motion by alternate contraction and dilata- 
tion. The trunk of an artery, which is called the aorta, 
or great artery, proceeds from the left ventricle of the 


heart. It soon divides itself into many branches, some 
of which ascend, others descend, by innumerable rami- 
fications, which become smaller and smaller, in propor- 
tion to their distance from the heart, distribute them- 
selves on all hands, and penetrate every part of the body. 
When the right ventricle contracts it propels the blood 
into the arteries with so much force, that it goes into the 
very extremities of their smallest ramifications. This 
motion is called the pulse ; it is only the effect of the 
pulsation of the heart, and is quicker or slower according 
as the heart contracts with more or less frequency. But 
what becomes of the blood after it has arrived at the ex- 
tremities of the arteries distributed through the body ? 
Nature employs it in the wisest manner. Certain ves- 
sels, through which the blood circulates, absorb the 
aqueous particles ; others the oily, and others the saline. 
In other parts of the body where the arteries are dis- 
persed, the milk or fat is secreted ; or other humours 
which are necessary for certain purposes, or which should 
be expelled from the body as useless. 

That part of the blood which remains after having 
been thus purified, runs into the extremities of the 
arteries in such a way, that with the help of a microscope 
the little red globules may be seen rolling one after an- 
other. But these small channels begin to grow gradually 
larger, forming vessels which still increase in wideness, 
and are termed veins ; by these the blood is carried 
back into the heart in the same way that it had been 
conveyed from it by the arteries. 

The veins therefore bring back the blood to the heart 
from all parts of the body, the lower as well as the upper, 
by a canal which opens into the right ventricle. It does 
not pass immediately from this into the left ventricle ; but 
the contraction of the heart drives it into the pulmonary 
artery, which disperses it through the lungs by an in- 
finite number of small branches. Here the blood which 
has circulated through all the body, and has acquired a 
certain degree of warmth by its agitation, must, before 
it recommences its circulation, be cooled by the fresh air, 
which is brought into the lungs by inspiration. By means 
of this cooling it condenses again, for during the circula- 
tion it was extremely dilated by the heat. It is now re- 


ceived by the pulmonary veins, which conduct it to the 
left auricle of the heart i this restores it to the left ven- 
tricle, which by its contracting drives it again into the 
aorta, which distributes it to all parts of the body. Thus 
the blood circulates, passing from the heart to the ex- 
tremities of the body, by the arteries ; and returning 
from the extremities to the heart by the veins.* 

Such is the admirable mechanism of the circulation of 
the blood in men and animals. But how many obscuri- 
ties still remain on this subject ! We meet with wonders 
here which prove to us that the human mind cannot 
fully comprehend this masterpiece of Divine wisdom. 
For instance, is it not astonishing that the motion of the 
heart should continue without interruption for seventy, 
eighty, or a hundred years, and the machine neither 
wear out, nor fall to pieces ? The blood circulates in the 
human body twenty-four times every hour, and con- 
sequently goes through the whole body 576 times every 
twenty-four hours ; and as at each contraction the heart 
propels two ounces of blood into the aorta, it is evident 
that 7*200 ounces, that is, 600 pounds of blood, pass 
through the heart in the space of one hour ! 

May not this alone strike us with astonishment ? But 
there may be many other wonderful circumstances in 
this circulation which we know not, or of which we 
have very imperfect ideas. In a word, "man, whose 
government is acknowledged by all things here below, 
is a composition of wonders. The most admirable me- 
chanism, and the greatest corporeal beauty, are united in 
him. Each of his members proclaims him Lord of the 
creation. An innumerable multitude of invisible canals, 
so formed and measured as infinitely to surpass the wis- 
dom and contrivance of man, conduct and distribute in 
every direction that precious fluid on which our life de- 
pends, and cause it to circulate regularly and without 
interruption. In this universal movement, in this con- 
tinual flux and reflux, all is regular and well ordered ; 

* How the blood acquires and preserves its motion, what is the 
quantity of its circulating power, and what the cause of its colour, 
are questions not yet satisfactorily answered. — A. C. 


everything is in its place, and in the most perfect har- 
mony ; nothing is discordant, nothing obstructs, nothing 
stops, nothing precipitates its course.' 

This admirable circulation, which takes place in all 
animals, exists also in every part of nature. The sun 
revolves round his axis, and the earth, moon, and other 
planets perform their appointed revolutions with a regu- 
lar and determined motion. Not only the air is in a 
continual motion, for it incessantly circulates around the 
earth, but the water also continues its course without in- 
terruption. The rivers fall into the sea, and from the 
vast surface of the ocean those vapours arise which form 
the clouds; these are precipitated in showers, which 
penetrate the mountains and form springs ; which in- 
creasing, insensibly form rivers ; and these, returning to 
the ocean, restore what had been taken away by evapo- 
ration. The earth, ever fruitful, produces annual plants 
and crops, yet is never exhausted, because the con- 
tinual circulation of nutritious juices repairs its losses, 
and restores to it what it had given to us. 

All these revolutions of nature lead us to a First Cause, 
who has so planned the world that all beings are con- 
tinually in action ; they circulate, act, and move in an 
insensible labyrinth of changes, till they return to their 
former place, and commence anew the race marked out 
for them. 



God has formed the human body according to the 
wisest rules, and established most exact proportions even 
in the smallest parts. To be convinced of this we have 
only to calculate the height and thickness of the body ac- 
cording to certain specified measures. The height of the 
body is generally divided into ten equal parts, which in 
technical terms are called face-lengths or faces ; because a 
man's face was the first model for these admeasurements. 

The first face takes in the whole of the visage from 
the root of the hair on the forehead to the tip of the 


chin. From the beginning of the hair on the Forehead 
to the top of the head, there is one-third of the face in 
height ; or what amounts to the same thing, a length 
equal to that of the nose ; therefore from the top of the 
head to the bottom of the chin, the length is one face 
and a third. Between the bottom of the chin and the 
hollow of the collar-bone, there are two-thirds of a face : 
thus the height from the collar-bone to the top of the 
head is twice the length of the face ; which is the fifth 
part of the whole length of the body. From the collar- 
bone to the bottom of the breast, one face is reckoned. 
Below the breasts the fourth face-length begins, which 
ends at the navel. The fifth extends to the bottom of 
the abdomen ; which make in the whole the half of the 
"height of the body. The length of the thigh is equal to 
two faces, and the knee to half the face. The leg, from 
the bottom of the knee to the instep, makes two faces ; 
amounting in the whole to nine faces and a half. From 
the instep to the sole of the foot there is half a face, 
which completes the ten faces, the measure into which 
the human body is divided. 

This division has been made for men in general ; but 
where persons are very tall, there is found half a face 
more in that part of the body which extends from the 
breasts to the bottom of the abdomen. It is the extra 
length in this place which makes what is called a gen- 
teel shape. When the arms are so extended as to form 
a straight horizontal fine, the distance between the tops 
of the middle fingers of each hand, is equal to the height 
of the whole body. From the hollow of the collar-bone 
to the joint which unites the shoulder-bone to the arm, 
there is one face length. When the arm hangs down it 
is computed at four face-lengths : two between the 
shoulder and the elbow, and two from the elbow to the 
first joint of the little finger ; which make five faces for 
each arm, ten faces in the whole, which is a height equal 
to the length of the whole body. The hand is one face 
in length ; the thumb the third of a face, or the length 
of the nose, which is also the length of the great toe. 
The length of the sole of the foot is equal to a sixth 
part of the height of the whole body. There is a par- 
ticular measure also for the thickness of the body and 


limbs. The thickness of a finger is ordinarily the thirty- 
sixth part of the height; the thickness of the little 
finger the forty-eighth part. Three times the thickness 
of the thumb is equal to the thickness of the hand ; six 
times the thickness of the hand is equal to the whole 
height of the body. 

The height of the human body varies considerably : 
the finest stature is from five feet four or five; to five feet 
eight or nine inches. The middle size is from five feet 
one inch, to five feet four. The least size is below five 
feet. In general, women are two or three inches shorter 
than men ; their chest projects further, so that generally 
the capacity of the breast formed by the ribs is deeper 
and wider in women than in men, in proportion to the 
rest of the body. The loins of women are wider than 
those of men, because the bones which form that capa- 
city which is called the pelvis, or bason, are larger than 
those of men. Man has more brain than any other ani- 
mal of the same size. He has even more than the horse 
or the ox. A man who weighs a hundred pounds 
has commonly four pounds of brain. Infants born at 
the due time weigh eight pounds at most, and five at 
least ; their greatest length is one foot eleven inches, and 
their least is one foot six. 

The human body, whether it be considered in the 
whole, or in its different parts, is constructed according 
to the most exact proportions. All is regular, well-pro- 
portioned, and in the greatest harmony ; not only as it 
respects the size and figure, but the situation also of the 
different parts. There is not one part which is greater 
or less than the relation it bears to other members and 
the general advantage of the whole machine requires. It 
is impossible to devise a form or situation for any part, 
which would be more convenient or beneficent to the 
whole of the members. It is granted, however, that there 
may be varieties and irregularities among them, which 
do not destroy the principal design of the body. Ill- 
shaped persons and monsters are proofs of these irregu- 
larities. But if certain disproportions in the size, form, 
and position of the parts may be compatible with the 
principal design, they still hurt the grace and beauty of 
the outward appearance. How great should the gratitude 


be of those persons who are well-shaped, and whose 
members are all in just and agreeable proportion ? O 
that our souls were as pleasing in the sight of the Lord 
as our bodies are in the eyes of men ! When shall our 
souls and bodies be in the same harmony which pre- 
vails among the members of a well-formed body ? When 
this takes place we shall be pleasing in the sight of our 
God, and glorify our Father and Redeemer with our 
bodies and spirits which are his. 



To a reflecting mind, navigation is a subject which 
may give rise to the most important reflections. Here 
our curiosity is excited, and at the same time satisfied in 
different ways, so as to become a new source of pleasure. 
In general we consider navigation only in reference to 
the advantages it affords us ; but we should also consider 
the construction and motion of ships, without which 
navigation could not exist. 

Is it not very astonishing that such an enormous 
and heavy mass as a ship can float on the water ? The 
weight of a ship is greater than we imagine ; and it 
requires but little attention to be convinced that the 
pressure on the water must be prodigious. A man-of- 
wax which carries 800 men has commonly provisions 
laid in to support that number for three months, and 
carries besides from 70 to 100 guns. Now supposing 
each man to weigh only 100 pounds, and each cannon 
900, although there are cannons that weigh more than 
40 hundred, and supposing that each man eats but three 
pounds' weight of food in the day, this moderate calcu- 
lation will make the burden to amount to more than 
386,000 pounds. But the weight of the vessel itself is 
not taken into this calculation ; the rigging, and a mul- 
titude of materials necessary to keep the vessel in repair, 
load the cannon, &c, are articles which at least equal, if 
not surpass, the preceding sum. 

However, this enormous mass of at least 772,000 


pounds may be moved with a very gentle wind ! Is not 
this inconceivable ? Does it not appear contrary to the 
laws of nature ? No. It is quite natural ; and should 
the contrary happen, it would be miraculous. It is not 
the wind that drives this mass ; the ship, with its whole 
burden, swims on the water. But how can so heavy a 
body float? How can the water, whose particles are 
not strongly connected, have strength and consistency 
enough to support this enormous mass ? It is the effect 
of an equipoise ; the ship sinks till the volume of water 
which it displaces be equal to it in bulk. Suppose a 
vessel to be 120 feet long, and 15 broad, and that it 
sinks two feet in the water, i. e., 3,600 feet of water, or 
so much cargo, because the one takes place of the other. 
Thus the river is not more loaded with the ship and her 
cargo than it was with the water which the ship removes 
from the place which she occupies. 

Formerly navigation was very dangerous, and more 
laborious than it is at present. People did not dare to 
venture themselves far out in the open sea, but coasted 
along without losing sight of the shore. But since the 
invention of the compass they cross the seas with more 
confidence and safety. Before this valuable discovery, 
it was a sort of wonder to make even short sea-voyages. 
In Homers time it required great preparations and long 
deliberation before his heroes could determine to cross 
the iEgean Sea. The expedition of Jason and his Argo- 
nauts to the island of Colchis was considered as the 
wonder of the world. But what are these in comparison 
of our sea-voyages ? By the discovery of the compass 
we are enabled to make the longest voyages ; the magnetic 
needle, turning always to the north, informs the navi- 
gator in what region he is, and the countries to which 
he directs his course. In the darkest night, in the most 
cloudy days, in the very midst of the ocean, this instru- 
ment serves him as a guide, and leads him from one end 
of the earth to the other. 

Have we ever reflected on the advantages of naviga- 
tion? Have we ever been sufficiently grateful to our 
Creator for these advantages ? Whoever we may be, it 
is to navigation we owe, either directly or indirectly, a 
great part of the things necessary for our subsistence. 


We could not have those spices and medicines which 
come to us from different countries ; or, at least, could 
not procure them hut at great trouble and expense, did 
not vessels bring them into our ports. We should be 
much distressed, indeed, were we obliged to bring all 
our necessaries by land. The following calculation will 
prove this. The freight of a. ship is reckoned by tons ; 
and a ton weighs 2000 pounds ; therefore a vessel whose 
burden is 600 tons carries 1,200,000 pounds weight ! 
Now, allowing 1000 pounds' weight to a horse, it would 
require 312 four-horse wagons, i. e., 1248 horses, with a 
man at least to each wagon, to transport this cargo. But 
how could we procure treasures from other parts of the 
world ? and how expensive would it be to acquire even 
the bare necessaries of- life ! Besides, should not navi- 
" gation be considered as one of the greatest blessings of 
our Creator, when we reflect that it has been the means 
of carrying the knowledge of the gospel of Christ to the 
remotest nations of the world ? Can this consideration 
fail to inspire us with the most lively emotions of grati- 
tude to God ? On the other hand, should we not thank 
him that our calling does not oblige us to brave the 
dangers of the seas, and expose our lives continually in 
order to enrich ourselves, or to procure even the means 
of a bare subsistence ? Whilst, then, at a distance from 
all these perils, we live peaceably among our families, 
should we not recommend those of our brethren to the 
protection of God, who are obliged to brave the seas, 
and undertake long and dangerous voyages for the benefit 
of society, and consequently for our particular profit ? 



Animals of this kind render us so many services, and 
are so very useful, that it would be a sort of ingratitude 
not to examine them with particular attention. We 
generally content ourselves with subduing them for our 
food, or training them to assist our weakness by then- 
strength ; but through ignorance or indolence we neglect 



to consider them in their relation to the rest of the crea- 
tion, and to refleet on the wisdom and goodness of God, 
which are so visibly manifested in the production of 
these useful animals. Possibly the following meditation 
may make us more attentive to this subject, and serve to 
excite our gratitude to the Creator. 

Of all domestic animals the horse renders us most 
service, and does it the most willingly. He suffers him- 
self to be employed in the cultivation of our grounds. 
He tamely submits to all kinds of labour for a moderate 
and frugal subsistence. He shares with men the plea- 
sures of the chase and the dangers of war. He is a 
creature who gives up his own being, to exist only by 
the will of another; he even anticipates this will, and 
by the promptitude and precision of his motions ex- 
presses and executes it. He abandons himself unre- 
servedly to his master ; refuses no labour ; exerts all his 
strength ; goes beyond it, and sometimes even expires in 
his efforts to obey. Nature has given him a propensity 
both to love and fear man, and has rendered him very 
sensible of those caresses by which his servitude is ren- 
dered pleasing. The horse, of all animals of his size, 
is the best proportioned in every part of his body. Every 
thing in him is regular and elegant. The exact pro- 
portion of every part of his head gives him a light and 
lively look, which is considerably heightened by the 
beauty of his chest. His carriage is noble, his step ma- 
jestic, and all the members of his body seem to announce 
energy, strength, courage, and stateliness. 

The ox has not the gracefulness and elegance of the 
horse ; his monstrous head, his limbs too small and too 
short for the size of his body, the smallness of his ears, 
his stupid look and heavy pace, may be considered as 
imperfections; but all these irregularities are compen- 
sated by the important services which he renders to man. 
He is strong enough to carry heavy burdens, and is con- 
tented with scanty fare. Everything in this animal is 
of use ; his blood, his hide, his hoofs, his flesh, his fat, 
and his horns, may be all applied to a variety of pur- 
poses ; his very dung is the best sort of manure for en- 
riching the land, that it may be capable of producing 
new aliments. The structure of the organs of digestion 


in this animal is very remarkable. He has four sto- 
machs, the first of which can contain forty or fifty 
pounds' weight of food ; the third stomach God has so 
constructed, that it has eighty-eight folds in order to 
assist digestion; whereas the stomachs of sheep and 
goats have but thirty-six. 

The ass, however unpromising his outward appearance 
may be, and however despised, has nevertheless very 
excellent qualities, and is very useful to man. He is 
not fiery and impetuous like the horse, but peaceable, 
simple, and always well-tempered. He has no stateli- 
ness, goes smoothly on his way, and carries his load 
without noise or grumbling. He is temperate both as 
to the quality and quantity of his food. He is contented 
with thistles, and the hardest and worst herbs. He is 
patient, vigorous, and indefatigable, and renders his 
master constant and important services. 

How is it that we can have these animals daily in our 
employ, and not think at the same time of the Creator 
who has formed them, and given them those properties 
which are so useful to us. It is a circumstance well 
worth the attention of a reflecting mind, that the number 
of beasts of burden and draught cattle is, beyond all 
comparison, greater than that of wild beasts. If the 
multiplication of the latter were equal to that of the 
former, the earth would soon be laid waste. Can we 
reflect without gratitude on the goodness of God, who 
has given us the dominion over these creatures, the 
strength or skill to subjugate them, the right to apply 
them to our use ; to change their natural state at plea- 
sure ; to oblige them to obey, and employ them as we 
think good ? This dominion over the creatures is the 
gift of God, by which man may every moment perceive 
the excellence of his being. If God had not impressed 
animals with a natural fear of man, it would have been 
impossible for him to subjugate them by force. Seeing, 
then, that it is to God we owe the empire which we 
have over them, it is highly unjust to abuse these crea- 
tures, either by excessive labour, or by any other mode 
of ill-treatment. 



A great part of the food designed for man and other 
animals is at this time confided to the earth. When 
the hushandman has sown his winter's corn he begins to 
enjoy a little rest. He will soon have the satisfaction of 
seeing his fields clothed gradually with a beautiful ver- 
dure, giving the promise of a plentiful harvest. Nature 
indeed works in secret while the germ is unfolding itself; 
but its operations may be discovered by taking some of 
the seeds out of the ground which begin to sprout. Two 
days after the seed has been sown, the juices with which 
it is swollen penetrate the germ, and cause it to shoot. 
The germ is always situated at one extremity of the 
seed, and that part which is next the outside is the little 
root of the future plant. Twenty-four hours after the 
corn has been sown, the germ commonly begins to pierce 
the coat of the grain, and to disengage itself. It puts 
out its root and stalk ; the root is at first wrapped up in 
a sheath, which it bursts. Some days after, other roots 
shoot out at the sides, each disengaging itself from its 
sheath. On the fifth or sixth day a small green point 
begins to appear above the ground. It continues a con- 
siderable time in this state, till in fine weather the ear 
bursts forth from its coat, by which it had been protected 
from cold and uncertain weather. 

All this necessarily leads us to reflect on the nature of 
human life. Our present existence is the germ of an 
eternal life. We are here below in our seed-time, and 
can discover but very little growth. The full ear, the 
ripe fruit, and the sheaves in perfection, we cannot see 
here below ; the in-gathering is not made on earth. We 
live in hope. The husbandman, after having sown his 
field, abandons his seed to corruption, to rain and storms, 
and to the heat of the sun; but he does not yet see 
what the result will be. This is precisely what happens 
in regard to the spiritual seed. Let us not be proud 
because the seed is sown, nor be discouraged because we 

god's particular providence. 287 

do not immediately see the fruits. Let us continue to 
sow unto the Spirit; and possibly our good works, 
wrought thus in God, however trifling in themselves 
will have blessed consequences hereafter. 

Now that our seed is committed to the ground, let us 
wait, without care and anxiety, till at the end of nine 
months we reap the fruit of our sowing; and in the 
mean time, like the pious husbandman, let us beseech 
God to crown our fields with his blessing. 


god's particular providence. 

* It would be a great misfortune for me and for the 
world, were there any foundation for that principle of 
unbelievers, that God concerns himself only with the 
totality of beings, and takes care of whole societies, of 
all genera and species, but not of individuals. What a 
ridiculous God is that of the freethinkers ! Or, rather, 
does he deserve the name of a God, who either cannot 
or will not concern himself with the parts of which the 
whole is composed? For our comfort we are taught, 
both by reason and revelation, to believe in a God whose 
providence is extended to every creature in particular, 
and to every part of which each creature is composed. 

Let none imagine that it is beneath God to attend to 
individuals. The whole universe, as well as the meanest 
particle of dust, is nothing in comparison of the infinite 
Being. This being the case, what is it that we can call 
little or contemptible ? Is there not a greater difference 
between an individual and whole nations, than there is 
between those immense globes which appear so little to 
the eyes of the common people ? The least consideration 
will be sufficient to convince us, that in the sight of 
God, to whom a thousand years is but as one day, and 
the whole universe as a drop in comparison of the ocean, 
there is nothing which is either great or little in itself, 
nor any event, however inconsiderable it may appear, 
that is unworthy his attention. Let us take the meanest 
plant, or the smallest insect that we can possibly dissect, 


and we shall discover, even in its smallest parts, the same 
wisdom which shines in the structure of the whole. The 
least fibre contributes as much to the perfection of the 
whole plant or animal as they do to the perfection of the 
entire species, and as the species does to the perfection 
of the universe. If, therefore, God has not thought it 
beneath him to form creatures which appear so despi- 
cable, why should it be thought beneath him to preserve 
them ? Besides, how could the whble be perfect, if the 
parts were not so ? Or how could the whole species be 
preserved without the preservation of the individuals ? 

Plain reason proclaims this to us, and revelation com- 
pletes our conviction. It teaches us that the very hairs 
of our head are numbered. A hair, the meanest ap- 
pendage of our bodies, thousands of which we lose in 
the course of our lives without perceiving it, or suffering 
any sensible loss through it, even all these are num- 
bered ! And from this our blessed Saviour draws this 
conclusion, that with much greater reason God interests 
himself in our behalf, and condescends to honour us 
with his attention ; and this he does more particularly 
because all men have been redeemed by the blood of his 
well-beloved Son, and have acquired new value in his 
eyes in consequence of becoming the brethren of the 
Lord Jesus. 

O Eternal Providence ! I adore thee in Christ Jesus ; 
I adore and bless thee, O God, with the liveliest emo- 
tions of gratitude. Even before the foundation of the 
world thou didst lay the plan of my happiness ; before I 
could supplicate, and before I could return thanks ! Can 
it then be possible that thou shouldst now forget me? 
My Redeemer has undertaken for me ; he has even suf- 
fered the most cruel torments in my behalf : can it cost 
him too much to watch over me ? No. He will preserve 
what he has so dearly purchased. Shall we then permit 
ourselves to be stumbled by the railleries of vain and 
w {f. k f d men ? No. Let us confide in that Providence 
which the infidel would wish to persuade us takes no care 
ot its creatures. Let us consider that we were not formed 
tw *i S J and that i<; is onI 7 ^ the world to come 

us in all W tW ra °f ^° d ' S S^e shall be manifested to 
us in all their splendour. But what are we, O God, 


that thou shouldst think of us ; creatures so base, cor- 
rupted, and sinful? Who are we, that the Holy of 
holies, the Being of beings, the Almighty, Infinite, and 
Eternal God should pay any attention to us ? What is 
man, that thou art mindful of him ; and the son of man, 
that thou visitest him ? What motives should this afford 
us to walk before thy face in uprightness, abstaining 
from every appearance of evil ! Thy eye is ever open 
upon us, and thou art pleased that we confide in thy 
providence. Lord, strengthen our faith, that we may 
not be stumbled by the depth and obscurity of thy ways ; 
and grant that all the dispensations of thy providence 
mav terminate in our-endless salvation ! Amen. 



Time is measured and divided according to the revo- 
lutions of the heavenly bodies, and especially by those 
of the sim and the moon. These two globes have most 
influence on the state of mankind. The revolution of 
the moon serves only to divide the time on our globe ; 
but the sun undoubtedly serves to regulate that division 
in all the planets which turn round him. 

Day is that portion of time which the sun takes up in 
making an apparent revolution round the earth ; or, to 
speak more correctly, the time which the earth takes up 
in revolving round its own axis. That space of time 
during which the sun is above the horizon is called an 
artificial day ; this is the time of light which is deter- 
mined by the rising and setting of the sun. The time 
of obscurity, that is, the time duringwhich the sun is 
below the horizon, we call night. The day and night 
taken together make the natural or solar day. This day 
is divided into twenty-four parts, which are called 
hours. Each hour is subdivided into sixty equal parts, 
which are termed minutes ; each minute, into sixty 
seconds ; and each second, into sixty thirds. This divi- 
sion is capable of being extended still further, but it is 
seldom found necessary. 

VOL. II. o 


This division of the day into hours, minutes, &c, is 
pointed out hy the shadow of the gnomon of a sun-dial, 
and hy the hands of a clock or watch. Well constructed 
sun-dials always show the true time as indicated by the 
sun, called apparent time ; but clocks and watches, which 
are always regulated by the mean time of the sun, show 
equal time, and, except four days in each year, differ 
more or less from that shown by the shadow of the 
gnomon. In common life the greater part of Europeans 
begin their day and their hours at midnight ; from which 
to midday they reckon twelve hours, and twelve hours 
from that to the ensuing midnight. The Italians begin 
their day at sun-set ; and from that to the succeeding 
evening they reckon twenty-four hours. The Turks 
begin their day a quarter of an hour after sun-set, from 
which they reckon twelve equal hours ; and when these 
are run out, they reckon twelve more to the following 
evening. The Jews begin their day at sun-set, from 
which they reckon twelve equal hours to sun-rise, and 
as many more from his rising to his setting ; consequently 
the hours of their day are longer or shorter than those 
of the night, in proportion as the day is longer or 
shorter than the night. 

A week is the space of seven days. A solar month is 
the time which the sun takes in passing through one 
sign of the zodiac ; but these months do not begin and 
end exactly at the entering of the sun into a new sign. 
A lunar month is the time which elapses from one new 
moon to another ; that is to say, twenty-nine days, twelve 
hours, and forty-four minutes. 

The solar year comprises twelve solar months ; that is 
to say, the time which the sun takes up in going through 
the twelve signs of the zodiac ; and this time is gene- 
rally computed to be three hundred and sixty-five days, 
five hours, and forty-nine minutes. These years are at 
present in use among all the people of Europe. The 
lunar year is that space of time which comprehends 
twelve lunar months, or twelve revolutions of the moon 
round our earth. It is composed of three hundred and 
fifty-four days, eight hours, and forty-eight minutes. 
The Jews and Turks still reckon by this year; but to 
make it correspond to the solar year, they often inter- 


calate a whole month. Our common year begins ten or 
eleven days after the sun has entered Capricorn. 

These measures and divisions of time, however un- 
important they may appear in themselves, are neverthe- 
less of great consequence in their application to civil 
life. The hours, days, weeks, months, and years, which 
constitute our earthly life, are granted unto us that we 
may use them so as to fulfil the great design of our ex- 
istence. But how do we employ these precious moments? 
Minutes and seconds are in our eyes but trifles, which do 
not deserve our attention. Nevertheless, it is certain 
that he who takes no account of minutes will throw 
away hours. But are we more economic in larger periods ? 
Alas ! if from all the days which have been allotted us 
we subtract those which have been entirely lost in respect 
to our immortal souls, how much of real and effective 
life will remain? Will it not appear as the result of 
this calculation, that man at the age of seventy years 
has lost fifty? And that he who has arrived to fifty 
years has scarcely spent seven of them in securing his 
eternal interests? O God of mercy, how distressing 
and humiliating is this consideration ! What hundreds, 
what thousands of days and hours, which have been 
intrusted to us by thy fatherly goodness that we might 
employ them in promoting the eternal welfare of our 
souls, have been shamefully consumed in departing from 
thee, thou best and most tender of parents ! How many 
years spent in idleness and vice, in gratifying criminal 
passions, and in injuring our brethren ! And with what 
inconceivable rapidity do the few moments that remain 
fly away ! Without scarcely perceiving it, an hour is 
already lost, irrecoverably lost ! And an hour is a great 
deal to a man who may easily reckon his real and 
effective life by hours. Lord, enter not into judgment 
with us for the days which we have so miserably mis- 
spent ! And so teach us to number our days, that we 
may apply our hearts unto wisdom ! May we henceforth 
make a proper use of the time which thou mayest still 
condescend to grant us, by getting an interest in the 
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and an assurance of our 
eternal felicity ! It is only by thus fulfilling thy merciful 

o 2 


designs that we can be said either to have lived long or 
lived happily. 



The sun is casting the last of his summer rays upon 
the earth; everything with us is changed. The earth, 
which a short time ago was so beautiful and fertile, is 
growing by degrees dismal, poor, and barren. We no 
longer see that fine enamel of trees in blossom, the charms 
of spring, the magnificence of summer, those hues and 
different shades of verdure in the woods and meadows, 
the purple colour of the grapes, nor the golden crops 
which clothed our fields. The trees have lost their late 
clothing ; the pines, the elms, and the oak bend under 
the fierce blast of the north wind. The rays of the sun 
are too feeble to warm the atmosphere, or penetrate the 
earth. The fields, which were so liberal in gifts, are now 
exhausted, and promise no more for this year. These 
melancholy changes must necessarily diminish Our plea- 
sures. When the earth has lost its beautiful verdure, its 
vivid colours, its splendour, in a word, its glory ; when 
the fields present nothing but a boggy soil and dull 
colouring, we lose that pleasure which we before received 
through the medium of sight. 

When the earth is stripped of its crops, its grass, and 
its leaves, nothing is to be seen but a rugged and uneven 
surface ; it has no longer that striking appearance which 
the corn, herbage, and various kinds of pulse collectively 
produced. The birds cease from their songs, and no- 
thing recalls to the mind of man that joy, that universal 
gladness, which he before shared with all animated 
beings. Deprived of the pleasure which the melodious 
concerts of birds afforded him, he hears nothing but the 
murmuring of waters and whistling of the winds ; a con- 
tinual monotony, which can excite nothing but disagree- 
able sensations. The fields have lost their perfumes, and 
we respire only a sort of damp odour, which, as it is not 


followed by the sensations of heat, has nothing agree- 
able in it. The sense of feeling is injured by the im- 
pression of cold and humid air. Thus the country 
presents nothing that can flatter our senses ; the delicate 
nerves, which are their instruments, extend too much 
on receiving disagreeable impressions, and afterwards get 
into an extreme state of contraction. It is the same 
with all the muscles, to which the feeble rays of the sun 
can now communicate no energy. 

But in the midst of these gloomy prospects we have 
still cause enough to acknowledge how faithful nature is 
to fulfil the eternal law prescribed to her, of being useful 
at all times, and in every season of the year. The 
winter approaches, the flowers disappear; and though 
the sun sometimes shines out, the earth no longer pos- 
sesses her wonted beauty. Nevertheless, stripped and 
desert as the country is, it still presents to a feeling 
mind the image at least of happiness. With gratitude 
to heaven we may say, Here we have seen the corn grow; 
lately these barren fields were clothed with abundant 
crops ; it is true that the orchards and gardens are stripped 
bare, but the remembrance of the presents which they 
have made us cannot fail to mingle a sentiment of joy 
with the shiverings which we feel through the influence 
of the bleak north wind. 

The leaves of the fruit-trees are fallen ; the grass of 
the meadows is withered ; gloomy clouds cover the face 
of the sky ; the rain falls in abundance ; the roads are 
cut up ; and pleasant walking is no longer practicable. 
The man who does not reflect murmurs at this ; but he 
who is wise beholds with emotions of joy the earth 
drenched with rain. The withered leaves, and the yellow 
grass, are prepared by the autumnal rains to form a rich 
manure to fertilize the land. This reflection, and the 
pleasing expectation of spring, should naturally excite 
our gratitude to the Creator for his tender care of us, 
and should induce us to repose our whole confidence in 
him. Though the earth has lost its beauty, and all its 
external charms, and though it be even exposed to the 
murmurs of the children it has nourished and delighted, 
it has nevertheless commenced its labour anew, and is 
working secretly for their future welfare. 


But why is not the moral world as faithful to accom- 
plish its destination as the natural world is ? The acorn 
will always produce an oak, and the vine grapes ; why 
then has not the great man children which always re- 
semhle him ? Why have men of learning and eminent 
artists ignorant and stupid descendants ? Why do holy 
parents bring into the world vicious and wicked children ? 
When we reflect oh this difference we may find several 
natural causes for it ; and we see that what often happens 
in the natural may also happen in the moral world, viz., 
that the best vine, for lack of a good soil and tempera- 
ture, will produce bad and sour grapes; and virtuous 
parents may have degenerate children. In carrying 
these reflections further, may we not look back on our- 
selves and say, are not our brightest days often obscured, 
and has not the glory that surrounded us often dis- 
appeared like the leaves of the trees ? 

Possibly our lot here below may have a vicissitude of 
seasons. In such a case we should have recourse in 
the winter of our life, to the fruits collected in the days 
of our prosperity, and endeavour to make a good use of 
the fruits of our education and experience. If our harvest 
have been very productive, let us divide with the poor, 
whose rugged or ill-cultivated soil could yield but a 
small portion of fruit. Let us studiously endeavour, 
during the summer of our life, to have an autumn abun- 
dant in good fruits, honourable to ourselves, and useful to 
mankind. Happy if, at the end of our autumn, we may 
carry down with us into the grave the glory of having 
borne some fruit to the honour of God, and the good of 
society ! 



God has manifested himself in the creation as a Being 
infinitely wise. 

There is no creature, however useless it may appear to 
us, but what has its particular destination ; and all are 
so formed as to answer, in the most proper manner, the 


end of their existence. This we know certainly to be 
the case in those we are acquainted with, and we con- 
clude the same of the others by analogy. If we begin 
with the sun, and descend to the smallest worm or plant, 
we shall be obliged to acknowledge that, in order to be 
properly adapted to the ends for which they were created, 
they could not have been formed in any other way ; and 
that, relatively to those ends, there is no defect in them. 
The very smallest parts of each creature are evidently 
well adapted to their particular uses ; they accomplish 
the functions which God has prescribed ; and the whole 
creature would be defective, and could answer but 
imperfectly the end of its existence, were any of its parts 
to be cut away or injured. And how wonderful is that 
whole which results from the relations and connexions 
which the creatures have among themselves. Each is 
in its place ; each has its proper functions ; and these 
functions are necessary to the perfection of the whole ; 
and none of these can fail without producing more or 
less disorder in the whole. When we represent to our- 
selves the Being who has formed this innumerable mul- 
titude of creatures, animate and inanimate ; who has 
not only designed each for a particular end, but has also 
disposed and arranged all its parts, so as to be most suit- 
able to that end, without either superfluity or defect ; 
who, by the union of all the individuals, has formed an 
admirable whole, where the most perfect harmony pre- 
vails; must we not be struck with astonishment, and 
cry out, O the depth of the wisdom and knowledge 
of God ! 

God has manifested himself in the creation as a Being 
infinitely good. 

Everywhere he has dispensed being, motion, and life. 
What multitudes of" animated beings has his beneficent 
hand produced ! Ever since the foundation of the world, 
man has endeavoured to find out all the living creatures 
which inhabit the earth, and yet new species are daily 
discovered which were hitherto unknown. Is not life 
an inestimable blessing to all that breathe ? Is it not a 
benefit even to the vilest worm ? What pleasure must 
God have in doing good, seeing he has communicated 
the blessing of conscious existence to so many beings ! 


But of what use would their existence be, were they to 
be immediately deprived of it ? The Creator has taken 
care that every living creature shall exist as long as is 
necessary to answer his purpose in its creation. He has 
marked out to each creature the place of its habitation ; 
and each finds at its entrance into the world whatever is 
necessary for the preservation of its being. Many ani- 
mals bring into the world with them that instinct and 
industry which they stand in need of to find their food. 
Others, as man, are supported and instructed by their 
parents. And with what an inexhaustible fertility has 
God endued the earth for the benefit of mankind ! For 
nearly six thousand years he has nourished so many mil- 
lions of men and other animals ; and were the world to 
subsist as long again, we need not doubt but he would 
continue to provide a sufficiency of nourishment for all 
succeeding generations. With life, how many pleasures 
and pleasing sensations does the Creator grant to ani- 
mated beings, and especially to man ? With what mag- 
nificence has he adorned and embellished the world, the 
place of his habitation ! What comforts does he make 
him partaker of in social life ! With what tender rela- 
tions, warm affections, and delightful sentiments does he 
cheer his heart ! Let us never be ungrateful to such an 
indulgent Creator ! Seeing we are endued with reason ; 
seeing we are capable of knowing and loving our God ; 
let us acknowledge with transports of joy, that the earth 
is full of the loving-kindness of the Lord. 

God has manifested himself in the creation as a Being 
infinitely powerful. 

This unlimited power, which is seen at first view in 
all the creatures, may be still more particularly perceived 
in the two extremes ; that which is greatest, and that 
which is least in the universe. Who but a Being infi- 
nitely powerful could have constructed the immensely 
extended firmament, that prodigious space in which such 
a vast number of huge worlds are contained ? Who but 
himself could have hitherto preserved this vast edifice ; 
established it so that it cannot be shaken, and yet sup- 
port it in all its various and regular motions ? Who else 
could raise the sun to such a height, appoint him his 
place, prevent his departing from it, and support him 


without a prop in this immense space ? Could anything 
less than infinite power give motion to the earth, the 
moon, and the other planets, so that they should re- 
volve invariahly in their appointed orhits, finish and 
begin afresh their revolutions at certain fixed pe- 

If we consider the omnipotence of God in the smallest 
objects, here also we shall find it as incomprehensible 
as in the greatest. Let us only cast our eyes on the 
dust on which we tread. This dust is inhabited by an 
innumerable multitude of creatures, many thousands of 
which united would not amount to the size of a grain of 
sand! Nevertheless, each of these has all its external 
members and internal organs ; each has its various sen- 
sations, each its peculiar instincts; is endued with the 
love of life, and seeks to preserve it. Behold the grass 
of the field, the hair of your head, and the blossoms of 
the trees ; study their structure, their origin, and their 
use ; and in all these you shall clearly discover the infi- 
nite power of Him who forms the celestial bodies with 
the same ease that he creates a worm, or causes a blossom 
to spring forth. 

Lord, how great and numerous are thy works! In 
wisdom thou hast made them all, and the earth is full of 
thy goodness. Teach us to be as attentive to these things 
as we ought to be, that we may know thou art the Lord 
who madest the heavens and the earth. Let these con- 
siderations be the means of filling us with love to, reve- 
rence for, and confidence in this most amiable, most 
magnificent, and most powerful of all Beings ! 



Inertia is nothing more than the power of resistance, 
through which all bodies are disposed to remain in that 
state in which they are. When a body is at rest, it re- 
sists the motion which we desire to give it ; but when 
it is once put in motion, it persists in it from the same 
cause of inertia, and resists as forcibly those bodies which 

o 3 


would stop its progress, as it did those which first put it 
in motion. Nothing can be wiser than this law which 
the Creator has established. Through this, bodies move 
with perfect regularity, and by it we can exactly deter- 
mine the laws of motion and percussion. 

If the celestial bodies had not this power of resistance, 
they could not move with so much order and regularity, 
and they must continually have a new moving cause to 
preserve them in motion. From this it appears that an 
infinite wisdom formed and arranged the universe. The 
suppression of any one part of the immense edifice would 
bring the rest into disorder. Of what use would the 
regular structure of plants and animals, and the admira- 
ble arrangement of the celestial bodies be, if these dif- 
ferent bodies were not susceptible of motion ? But how 
simple is this law, and how wonderful are its effects ! 
Such are all the works of the Creator ; the principles 
are extremely simple, but the whole edifice is so much 
the more admirable. The universe resembles a magni- 
ficent palace : the strong and rugged walls on which the 
building rests, appear to have neither elegance nor beauty; 
nevertheless they are so indispensable, that without 
them the least motion of the air would overturn the 

However, even these apparently rough foundations 
have their beauty, though every person is not capable of 
discerning it. One must be an architect himself, or at 
least be well acquainted with the rules of this art, in 
order to be able to enjoy the pleasure which the con- 
struction and symmetry of the foundations afford. None 
but an artist can perceive why the foundation has that 
depth, breadth, and length which the architect has given 
it ; he sees that it must be such as it is, that it may be 
what it ought to be ; he has the satisfaction to be capa- 
ble of forming a right judgment of the work, and he 
knows that the work is perfect. This is exactly the 
case in contemplating the works of God. Every spec- 
tator is not able to discover the fundamental laws on 
which the greater part of the phenomena depend, nor to 
find out the wisdom of the plan. This knowledge is 
reserved for the true philosopher, and is to him a source 
of inexpressible pleasure. 


It seems as if there was also a certain inertia in mind, 
as well as in matter. Bodies which constantly move in 
the same way and to the same point have a certain ten- 
dency to it. The human spirit has a certain propensity 
to those actions which we have often in the same way 
repeated. Hence it is that we find such difficulty to 
conquer certain hahits. Now we might make an excel- 
lent use of this natural inertness of our minds, in using 
it to strengthen us in virtue. In order to this we should 
often repeat the same acts, till we feel ourselves as much 
accustomed to good and virtuous actions as we are at 
present to those that are vicious. This is so much the 
more important, as without virtue we can never arrive at 
true and solid peace. But whence come the mistakes 
into which we so frequently fall in this respect ? Why 
do we continually pursue imaginary good, which in the 
end leads us to destruction? Our hearts, seduced by 
that pride which is natural to them, and dazzled with 
the false splendour of sensible things, cause us reluc- 
tantly to approach the paths of uprightness. But let us 
not be discouraged with being obliged to do violence to 
our evil passions and propensities. The vicious them- 
selves are often obliged to restrain and resist their pas- 
sions, in order to procure some temporal advantage or to 
escape some particular danger. And the efforts which 
they are obliged to make in order to resist their sensual 
appetites and desires must be very bitter and grievous to 
men of corrupt minds. On the contrary, what pleasing 
satisfaction must they feel, whose souls have resumed 
the authority which they should ever maintain over their 
senses ! A frequent exercise of this authority may be a 
means of conducting us to that happy state where the 
soul, elevated (so to speak) above the tumultuous region 
of passion, sees with pity the mean and despicable 
swarm of the slaves of vice. 

There is a good deal of strength in the above reasoning ; but I 
am firmly persuaded that a habit of righteousness never was and 
never can be acquired merely by a repetition of acts. The power 
of God alone can dispose the soul to do good ; and it ever was and 
ever will be the prerogative of the grace of Christ to change the 
human heart. Yet he who acts in the above way, under the divine 
influence, will certainly succeed. — A. C. 



There is no creature on the earth which has so many 
wants as man. We came into the world naked, desti- 
tute, and ignorant. Nature has not endued us with that 
industry and those instincts which beasts have at their 
birth; reason only has been bestowed on us, that we 
might acquire through it requisite talents and knowledge. 
In this respect the state of the brute creation may appear 
enviable. Is it not happy for them that they have no 
need of the clothing, instruments, and conveniences which 
are so requisite for us ; and that they are not obliged to 
invent and exercise that multitude of arts and sciences, 
without which we could not procure ourselves the ne- 
cessaries of life ? They bring with them at their birth 
clothing, arms, and everything they need; and if they 
want anything, they can easily procure it by means of 
those natural instincts which they blindly follow. If 
they want dwelling-places, they know either how to dig 
or build them. Have they need of beds, coverings, 
changes of raiment, they know how to spin or weave 
them ; to cast off their old garments and get new. If 
they have enemies, they are provided with arms for their 
defence ; if they be sick or wounded, they know where 
to find proper remedies. Now we, who are so superior 
to all other animals, have more wants and fewer means 
of supplying them. 

It may be asked, "Why has the Creator in all these re- 
spects privileged man less than the beasts ? This curiosity 
is doubtless excusable, provided it be unaccompanied 
with complaining. The wisdom of the Deity is mani- 
fested in this as well as in every other thing. In sub- 
jecting men to so many wants, God designed that they 
should be continually obliged to exercise that reason 
which he has given for their happiness, and which to us 
supplies the place of all the resources of other animals. 
And because we are destitute of those instincts with 
which they are endowed, we are obliged to use our 


reason, in order to gain a knowledge of the world and 
of ourselves; to be active, diligent, and laborious, that 
we may guard against want, pain, and disappointment ; 
and so lead a quiet and pleasant life. By using our 
reason, we see the necessity of bridling our strong pas- 
sions, and avoiding those excesses which might prove 
fatal to u,s. A few examples may convince us of this. 
If we could procure fruits and all other necessary ali- 
ments without labour, we should infallibly become indo- 
lent and idle, and should spend our lives in the most 
degrading sloth. 

The noblest faculties of man would be enfeebled and 
become stupid ; the bonds of society would be broken ; 
for men would no longer live in a state of mutual 
dependance. Even children could then do without the 
assistance of their parents, and would need no help from 
others. The whole human race would fall into a state 
of barbarism and savage stupidity ; each, like the brutes, 
would live for himself, and there would be neither sub- 
ordination, nor mutual obligations, nor good offices. It 
is to our wants that we owe the development of our 
faculties, and the prerogatives of humanity. They 
awaken the mind, dispose us to activity and industry, by 
which our lives are made more easy and pleasant than " 
those of other animals. Our wants have made us so- 
ciable, rational, and regular in our manners, and have 
led us to invent a multitude of useful arts and sciences. 
In general, an active and laborious life is both useful 
and necessary to man. Were not his strength and facul- 
ties brought into action, they would become a burden to 
himself; he would gradually fall into stupid ignorance, 
into low brutal indulgences, and into all the vices neces- 
sarily resulting from them. 

Labour, on the contrary, puts the whole machine into 
a pleasing state of action, and procures us satisfaction 
and pleasure, in proportion as it requires invention, re- 
flection, and knowledge. Natural wants were to us 
indispensably necessary, that we might be rational, wise, 
social, virtuous, and happy. If, after having been fed 
with our mother s milk, we had no need of succour or 
instruction, we should live for ourselves alone, refer every 
thing to ourselves, learn no language, and make no use 


of our reason. Stupid, and profoundly ignorant of our- 
selves and other beings, we should understand neither 
arts nor sciences, and be strangers to the noblest plea- 
sures of the mind. But now the wants of children, and 
the helpless state in which they come into the world, 
oblige the parents, through pity and tenderness, to take 
care of them; while the children, on their part, are at- 
tached to their parents through a sense of their wants 
and a fear of danger; they submit to be guided and 
formed by their example and instruction ; and learn from 
them how to use their reason and to act uprightly. Thus 
they may become worthy people and good citizens, and 
be enabled to lead an honest and happy life. Possessed 
of such advantages, we may easily dispense with those 
which the animals appear to have over us. We have 
no need of furs or feathers to clothe us; no need of 
teeth and talons to defend us ; nor of certain natural in- 
stincts and sensations, to procure us the things necessary 
to our support and preservation. These gifts of nature 
would only degrade us, and bring us into a state of mere 
animal perfection. Our senses, our reason, and our hands 
suffice to procure us clothing, weapons, food, and every 
necessary for our safety, support, and pleasure, and 
enable us to apply to our use all the riches of the king- 
dom of nature. 

We see, therefore, that the wants of which so many 
complain are the very foundation of our civil happiness, 
and the best means which the wisdom and goodness of 
God could choose to direct the faculties of men to their 
greatest advantage. Were they only wise enough to exer- 
cise themselves in this way, they would save themselves 
a great deal of trouble ; not one in a hundred of the 
miserable could attribute his distresses to misfortune ; 
and we should confess that the quantum of good far 
exceeds the quantum of evil ; that our afflictions are 
softened by a thousand advantages, and that it is in our 
power not only to lead a tolerable but even a happy 



The faculty which our souls have of foresight mani- 
fests itself by such extraordinary effects, that it must 
strike us with astonishment. The sensations and re- 
presentations which foresight produces, are sometimes 
so obscure, and so wrapt up in the essence of the mind, 
that we are not conscious of them. The soul, however, 
draws very exact conclusions from them ; and the image 
of the future presents itself clearly enough to convince 
the mind that has that preconception. It then forms 
conjectures and presages without knowing how it has 
been led to them, and in its astonishment often mistakes 
them for inspirations. This is what is called presenti- 
ment, when, without being able to account for the way 
in which we foresee a future event, we have notwith- 
standing an idea more or less clear of it. But it should 
be here observed, that presentiment is in its nature a 
representation much weaker than sensation ; therefore 
it cannot be well distinguished when the senses and a 
heated imagination put the soul into a violent agitation. 
But when the soul is calm, presentiments are more clear ; 
hence it is that they take place chiefly in the silence of 
the night, in sleep, and in dreams. At such times man 
is often raised above himself; the veil which covers 
futurity is drawn from before his eyes, without his know- 
ing how it was done ; and he can speak of future events, 
while he is scarcely able to see those which pass before 
his eyes. 

A multitude of facts prove beyond a doubt that the 
soul has the faculty of sometimes foreseeing the future , 
and he must have a slight acquaintance with nature, 
who would deny a thing merely because it appears ex- 
traordinary or inexplicable. This secret and unknown 
emotion, which warns us sometimes of what is to happen, 
really exists in the essence of our souls ; and history is 
so full of examples of this that we cannot possibly deny 
them all. Few persons have arrived at mature age 


without having had some such presentiments. The soul 
is a representative power of the universe, in reference 
to the place it occupies in it; it has the faculty of re- 
presenting the past as well as the present ; why then may 
it not have the faculty of representing the future also, and 
even contingent events ? It may employ for this pur- 
pose means similar to those which it uses to represent 
the past. Provided it has heen informed of past events, 
it can represent them as if they were present ; and why 
should we consider it an impossible thing that it should 
be informed of future events ? In the universe there 
are millions of intelligences superior to man, who may 
reveal to him some part of futurity ; or there may be 
in the human soul a certain power, hitherto unknown, 
which enables man to foresee distant and future events. 
But, however obscure and inexplicable the cause of 
presentiment may be, it is enough for us to know that it 
may contribute in a direct or indirect manner to our hap- 
piness. At one time it may warn us of our approaching 
danger ; at another time it announces some pleasing and 
happy event. In both cases this presentiment may be 
very advantageous to us ; we have only to take care that 
this faculty of our soul become not our torment, but that 
it serve on the contrary to establish and increase our 
tranquillity. We must particularly guard against all 
superstition ; we must not trust too much to these pre- 
sentiments, nor draw rash conclusions from them. They 
must not lead us to neglect the performance of any duty ; 
and we must never forget that God alone deserves all 
our confidence. 



God is my song. He is the strong God, the Lord is 
his name ; his works are great, and his government ex- 
tends to the heavens. 

He wills and speaks, and millions of worlds spring 
into existence ; he threatens, and worlds are reduced into 


Light is his garment; his counsels are wisdom and 
truth. As God he reigns ; truth and righteousness are 
the foundation of his throne. 

Monarch of all the world ! Who is like unto thee ? 
Without beginning of days, or end of time ! The only, 
the never-ceasing source of glory, riches, and happiness ! 

All that is, was, or shall he, in heaven, earth, or sea, 
is known by the Lord. His innumerable works have 
been before his eyes from eternity. 

He encompasses me ; he watches over me ; and under 
the shadow of his wings I rest in safety. None of my 
actions can escape his notice ; he searches the heart. 

He is nigh to thee ; he knows thy rising up and lying 
down ; he sees thy thoughts long before they are formed. 
Shouldst thou climb up to heaven, he is there ; shouldst 
thou fly on the rays of light to the limits of the universe, 
he is there also. 

He knows my troubles ; he hears my prayers ; he un- 
derstands all that passes in my heart- My good and my 
bad actions are equally known unto him ; and when I 
stumble, his merciful hand upholds me. 

From eternity he has purposed my welfare ; whatever 
concerns me is written in his book ; his finger marked 
it down before I was born ; as also the number of my 

I have nothing but what has come from God. Lord, 
I am thine. It is by thy goodness I live. Therefore 
I will give glory to thy name, and thy praise shall be 
continually in my r _outh. 

Who can comj ehend and recount the grandeur and 
magnificence of thy wonders ? Every grain of dust an- 
nounces the power of its Creator. 

Thy wisdom is seen in the smallest spire of grass ; 
air, sea, fields, vallies, and hills proclaim thy praise. 

Thou waterest the earth, and spreadest a verdant 
ca-pet under our feet ; we are encompassed by thy mer- 
cies ; the day and the night, the corn and the fruit of 
the vine, plenty and joy, all come from thee 

A sparrow falls not to the earth without thy notice ; 
shall I then abandon my heart to vexation and not con- 
fide in thy paternal care ? 

If the Lord be my protector, my sun, my shield, and 


my deliverer, I have nothing to fear from heaven nor 
from earth, nor shall all the powers of hell cause me to 



Thou, O Lord, hast created the hosts of heaven, and 
the blessed spirits which encompass thy august throne. 
The heavens in their immense extent, and all the mag- 
nificence with which thou hast adorned them, are only 
the tabernacles of those sublime intelligences which 
know and adore thee. 

Thou hast adorned this globe of earth with a thou- 
sand beauties which enchant the mind. The sun, which 
illumines these worlds, fertilizes the earth, and enriches 
it with so many benefits, is so established by thee that 
he cannot be moved. 

At thy command the moon, the flambeau and orna- 
ment of the night, favours us with her mild light. 
Wherever we look, wherever we go, we see new proofs 
of thy goodness ; on us thy blessing continually rests. 

Springs and unfailing fountains bubble forth in our 
behalf, and furnish us with limpid and wholesome 
water. The gentle dew waters and refreshes our mea- 
dows. Mountains and vallies, forests and fields, pre- 
sent us with a thousand thousand beauties. The whole 
earth, which thy hand supports in the immensity of space, 
is full of thy riches, crowned with thy goodness, and 
fertilized by thy bounty. 

Let us bear without murmuring the afflictions of life ; 
frequent blessings, and especially the blessed hope of 
eternal felicity, shall assuage our griefs. The magnifi- 
cent spectacle of nature shall reanimate us, and the 
beams of his grace shall dry up our tears. 

But who can fathom the depth of thy ways ? In this 
life good and evil walk side by side ; earthquakes, thun- 
der, tempests, war, contagions, and innumerable maladies 
disturb the repose of mortals. We shall fall before death ; 


he spreads devastation everywhere, and respects no 

A blast overturns us, and precipitates us into the tomb, 
and we are reduced into dust. But, everlasting thanks 
be to God ! we expect a new life through the Lord Jesus, 
who has conquered death, and brought life and immor- 
tality to light by his gospel ! 


At first it seems difficult to believe that living crea- 
tures could be found in the sea. It contains so many 
different kinds of plants, herbs, trees, and bushes, which 
so grow and twine together, that this must apparently 
render the paths of the great deep impassable, as nothing 
but confusion and disorder seem to reign in that ex- 
tensive wild. But can there be in the sea living crea- 
tures connected with each other ? Nothing is more true, 
how strange soever it may at first sight appear. And it 
is not some individuals only that the sea contains, but 
such an innumerable multitude of different kinds, that 
we are very far from knowing them all, much less can 
we tell the individuals which belong to each species. 

Among this innumerable multitude of animated beings 
there is no confusion; they may be all easily distin- 
guished, for in the sea, as well as everywhere else, the 
most perfect order prevails. All these creatures may be 
ranged in certain classes ; they all have their particular 
nature, food, manner of life, characteristics, and peculiar 
instincts. In the sea, as well as upon the land, there are 
gradations, shades, and insensible steps from one species 
to another. The one begins where the other ends. The 
stone which is at the highest step of the ladder in the 
mineral kingdom, is one half of it a plant. The plant 
which terminates the vegetable kingdom, belongs in part 
to the animal kingdom ; and the beast which connects 
the human and the brute creation, has a great resem- 
blance to man. So likewise in the sea nature passes 
gradually from little to great; perfects insensibly the 
different kinds, and unites all beings by an immense 
chain, which is not deficient in a single link. 


What a prodigious multitude of inhabitants must the 
sea contain ! What a variety is there among them ! 
What a diversity in their forms, instincts, and destina- 
tion ! Some are so small that they can be scarcely per- 
ceived ; others are so large that we are terrified at their 
enormous bulk. Some are entirely without ornament, 
and so like the sea in colour, that it is almost impossible 
to perceive them in that element. Nature has adorned 
others with the most vivid and magnificent colours. 
Some kinds do not multiply much, because if they did, 
they would devour and destroy all the rest. Others, on 
the contrary, multiply prodigiously, because they serve 
for food to men and other animals. 

Lord, how numerous are thy works ! in wisdom 
thou hast made them all : the earth is full of thy good- 
ness ; so is this great and wide sea, wherein are creatures 
innumerable, both great and small animals. There go 
the ships, there are the great whales which thou hast 
formed to sport therein. These wait all upon thee, that 
thou mayest give them their meat in due season. Pa. 
civ. 24—27. 



As all the members of our bodies, taken collectively, 
form but one whole, constructed and arranged with the 
utmost wisdom ; in like manner the different kinds of 
natural productions are so many parts out of which the 
Supreme Wisdom has formed one perfect whole. A 
little attention only is necessary to convince us that every- 
thing in nature is connected so as to form a perfect sys- 
tem. Different kinds of mineral earths manifestly 
nourish and support the vegetable kingdom, without 
which animals could not exist. Fire, water, and air 
are indispensably necessary for the preservation of this 
terrestrial globe ; there is therefore an indissoluble bond 
between all the beings of which our globe is composed ; 
and philosophers have demonstrated that the globe itself 


has a necessary connexion with the sun, the planets, and 
the whole creation. Now to connect together this in- 
finite multitude of different beings, and to form but one 
whole out of all these parts, required unbounded wisdom. 
This alone could connect so many millions of different 
creatures, and unite them in such a manner that they 
should subsist in continual relation to each other, and 
minister to each other's support. 

That we may not lose ourselves in this immense 
ocean of creation, let us only consider our own globe, 
which is one of the most inconsiderable parts of the 
universe. The wisdom we discover in it will enable us 
to judge of what is manifested in the rest of the creation. 
At present let us reflect only on what is before our eyes. 
If we examine the animal kingdom in the relations it 
has to the rest of nature, if we reflect on the wants which 
are common to all the animals, we cannot but be struck 
with the admirable harmony which we discover in it. 
Heat, air, water, and light are absolutely necessary for 
the preservation of all creatures. But there must be a 
just proportion of them. Too much or too little would 
be equally injurious, and make a general chaos of nature. 
One degree too much in the universal heat would destroy 
every living creature. For if our earth, taken in the 
whole, received more heat from the sun, it would neces- 
sarily follow that the summer would be hotter in every 
climate than it is at present. But experience tells us 
that in all countries the heat is sometimes so great, that 
were it to be increased a little, either in degree or dura- 
tion, all the animals must perish, and all the vegetables 
be burnt up. On the other hand, if we had less heat 
we should be equally injured, seeing at present the cold 
is sometimes so intense that many animals are in danger 
of being frozen to death ; and it is not an uncommon 
thing to see some killed by the severity of the cold. 
The earth therefore receives that degree of heat from the 
sun which is proper for all the creatures, and any other 
degree would be destructive. There is the same just 
proportion in the air. The ascent of vapours depends 
chiefly on the weight of the air, and the rain on its light- 
ness. Now if the air could not condense and rarefy 
itself alternately, and become at one time heavy, at 


another time light, we should not have that diversity of 
temperature which is so necessary for the vegetation of 
plants, and consequently for the life of animals. 

Were the air in general more weighty than it is, it 
would be more laden with vapours, clouds, and fogs; 
and through its excessive humidity would be injurious 
to plants and animals. If on the contrary it were lighter, 
the vapours could neither ascend nor collect in clouds. 
It is the same everywhere. Nature observes a just 
medium in all things ; and as all the elements are so ar- 
ranged as best to secure the preservation of animals, so 
they are in perfect harmony with all the other parts of 
nature. The air not only produces those variations of 
temperature which are so necessary, but it is at the same 
time the vehicle of sound. It has been appropriated to 
our ear, and here again a marvellous wisdom is mani- 
fested; for if the air were more or less elastic — were 
more dense or more rare, the ear would suffer by it 
greatly ; and the soft and pleasing voice of man would 
either resemble claps of thunder, or the hissing of ser- 
pents. The air also contributes to the circulation of the 
blood : it penetrates the very smallest ramifications of 
the veins; were it more dense, its force would break 
everything ; were it more rare, its action would be too 
weak. There are a thousand other relations between the 
air and different beings, and it has all the properties 
that each requires. 

Now if we consider that many thousands of plants and 
animals have equal need of air, heat, and light ; that 
each of these species is different from the others; that 
it has its distinct and peculiar characteristics ; that it is 
weaker or stronger than others ; and that nevertheless 
these elements are equally suited to all, and supply their 
different wants ; shall we not acknowledge that an un- 
bounded wisdom, to which nothing is difficult, has estab- 
lished these admirable and harmonious relations among 
so many different beings ? In a word, everything in 
nature is made in number, weight, and measure, and di- 
rected to the accomplishment of determinate ends. Not 
only the trees which rise so majestically, the plants which 
have such beautiful forms, the fruitful fields and mea- 
dows, the serviceable horse, the flocks which feed us, the 

BED. 311 

mines which produce so many ornaments and so much 
riches ; the sea, which garnishes our tables with such ex- 
quisite fish, and which conveys navigators from one 
part of the world to another ; the planets which have 
such influence on our globe ; not only, I say, those bril- 
liant parts of the creation, but even the mosses, the shell- 
fish, and the insects, all contribute to the perfection of 
the whole. 

Infinitely powerful Being ! Creator and Preseiver of 
all things! Can I contemplate these objects without 
thinking of thee, and admiring thy wisdom ! Without 
thee — without thy salutary influences, all would be in 
darkness, confusion, and disorder; there would be nei- 
ther connexion, harmony, nor pleasure upon earth. 

" Yes, Lord, it is thy wisdom which adorns, enriches, 
and supports all things. It is thy wisdom which gives 
life and happiness to the animal creation. Let it ever be 
the subject of our songs. May we praise thee inces- 
santly, O our God, and sing hymns to thy honour ; for to 
thee appertain both wisdom and strength." 



Perhaps in summer we have not been so sensible as 
we ought of the comforts of a bed ; but now that the 
cold daily increases, we begin to consider this as one of 
the particular blessings which we receive from the kind- 
ness of God. If we were deprived of it in these cold 
nights, perspiration could not be carried on so well ; our 
health would be impaired, and our sleep would not be so 
comfortable and refreshing. On this account bed is a 
considerable benefit to us. But whence comes that warmth 
which we feel in it ? We mistake if we suppose it is the 
bed that warms us ; far from being able to communicate 
any heat to us, it is from our bodies which it receives 
its warmth. It only prevents the heat which evaporates 
from our bodies from being dissipated in the air ; it con- 
fines and concentrates it. 

We shall be more sensible of this blessing if we con- 


sider how many creatures concur to procure a quiet sleep. 
How many animals must furnish feathers and hair for 
this purpose ! Supposing that a common bed contains 
fifty-six pounds of feathers, and that one goose pro- 
duces about half a pound, the spoils of one hundred and 
twelve geese will he necessary for one bed ! But it re- 
quires many hands and materials besides. Now by such 
calculations as these, we may better learn the value of 
God's blessings. Generally we consider the blessings he 
communicates in a very superficial manner ; but if we 
examine them in detail, we shall form a different opinion 
of them than what we commonly do. Let us consider 
the different parts of which our bed is composed, and 
we shall be astonished to find that it requires the labour 
of ten men at least ; that it has cost the lives of as many 
animals ; that the fields must furnish flax for the sheets 
and quilts; sheep, wool for the blankets; the forests, 
timber for the bedstead, &c. We see then that a consi- 
derable part of the creation is put in motion to afford one 
refreshing night's rest. 

We may make the same reflections on the most com- 
mon daily blessings we enjoy. Our linen, clothes, shoes, 
and stockings, meat, drink ; in a word, all the necessa- 
ries of life, can only be procured for us by the united 
labour of a multitude of persons. Can we then he down 
in our beds without feeling sentiments of gratitude ? At 
the conclusion of each day we have a thousand other 
subjects of praise to God ; but had we only this, it would 
deserve our utmost gratitude. What sweet repose, what 
comfort do our beds afford us, after the fatigues of the 
day ! In these cold nights the best warm room would 
by no means answer so good an end to us as a bed. A 
warm apartment can give only an unequal heat ; whereas 
the whole body is equally warmed in bed, and that with 
the most temperate degree of heat. By means of this 
we can procure ourselves, at little expense, the warmth, 
comfort, and rest which are requisite. If then it be a 
mark of irreligion for a man to sit down to food without 
giving God thanks, it is more so to lie down in bed 
without being thankful to him ; seeing the refreshment 
which our bed affords us is of longer duration, less ex- 
pensive, and not less necessary for our health. Let us 

BED. 313 

therefore bless God for this enjoyment, and never forget 
the excellence of the blessing. We should be the more 
thankful, when we consider how many of our fellow- 
creatures either have no beds to rest on, or cannot rest 
on them. These distressed people highly deserve our 
pity. How many are exposed to the open air in all the 
inclemency of the season, travelling either by land or 
water ! How many confined in prisons, or in wretched 
cabins, who long for rest, and would think themselves 
the happiest of mortals had they but a small part of the 
blessings which we enjoy ! 

It is not unreasonable to suppose that the hundredth 
part of the inhabitants of a town or city are found in 
such distressing circumstances as these. What advan- 
tages have we over them ! How many of our fellow- 
creatures are obliged to watch the whole night ! The 
soldier at his post, the sailor in his ship, &c. But how 
many are there, who, though they have beds, cannot find 
rest on them ? In the compass even of a few miles, how 
many sick persons are there whose pains prevent them 
from sleeping ! And others are kept awake by carking 
care. Sinners, by remorse of conscience, are deprived of 
the sweets of sleep ; with many other wretched people, 
whose secret afflictions and poverty, together with their 
anxiety for the future, do not permit them to take the 
least repose. Now what is our duty in reference to them ? 
If we have not the ability to supply their wants, and 
assuage their pains, let them at least share our compas- 
sion, and have an interest in our prayers. As often as 
we seek rest in bed, let us pray for those who are de- 
prived of it, either through sickness, anxiety, poverty, or 
any other cause of distress. Let us especially remember 
those who are obliged to lie on the bare ground. Let us 
think also of our sick and death bed. We shall not 
always sleep as comfortably as we do at present. Nights 
may come in which we may water our couch with our 
tears ; and in which the pains of death shall compass us 
about. But even these shall be followed with a peace- 
able rest in the grave. If we sleep in the Lord, we shall 
awake again with new energy, and contemplate the 
glories of our God. Let us therefore, in the days of our 
health and prosperity, think of this last bed — our bed of 



earth ; and let us live so as to be able to think of it with 
satisfaction and joy. 



The fine days are gone ; and except the pleasing re- 
collection of having enjoyed them, they leave us nothing 
but emblems of frailty. How is the whole face of nature 
changed ! The rays of the sun fall faintly through the 
gloomy clouds, on gardens stripped of their flowers, on 
fields where no traces of crops remain, and on hills where 
little verdure is to be seen. The air no longer resounds 
with the melodious singing of birds ; and the gloomy 
silence which reigns everywhere is only interrupted with 
the croaking of jackdaws, or the shrill cries of those birds 
of passage which now take their leave of us in order to 
seek a warmer climate. The surrounding mountains are 
deserted; they are no longer covered with flocks, nor 
enlivened with the bleating of the sheep : the hot-beds 
and parterres are laid waste. "What a gloomy and dismal 
aspect does the whole country wear, which was lately so 
beautiful ! Instead of that lovely verdure, the principal 
ornament of the fields, they present little to the eye 
but a pale and dismal yellow. The clouds are laden with 
cold rain, and the thick mists veil the serenity of the 

Such are the prospects which nature now presents; 
und who can view them without reflecting on the frailty 
and inconstancy of all terrestrial things? The fine days 
are gone ; just while we were preparing to enjoy them, 
they are fled away ! But have we a right to murmur 
and find fault with the dispensations of the Lord ? No, 
certainly : we should rather recollect these summer days, 
and the innocent pleasures with which they have been 
crowned ; a&d return praise for them to the Ruler of sea- 
sons. What sweet sensations have been impressed on 
our hearts ; with what pure joy have our souls been filled 
when we contemplated the beauties of nature ; when the 
mountains and the vallies grew green before our eyes— - 


when the lark in the luminous clouds, and the night- 
ingale in the shady thickets, caused their harmonious 
notes to be heard ; when we respired the sweet perfumes 
of the flowers ; when the dawn, immediately succeeding 
the twilight, diffused joy and gladness around ; and when 
the setting-sun tinged the forests and hills with the most 
beautiful red. What happy days have we spent in the 
enjoyment of beauteous nature ! What rich presents 
have been made to us by the gardens, orchards, and 
fields ; exclusive of the pleasures which our imagination 
and senses have received from them ! Can we think of 
the past months without feeling a sweet emotion, and 
without praising the Parent of nature, who has crowned 
the year with his goodness ? 

We now live on the gifts of summer and autumn. 
We have seen with what activity nature laboured in 
those fine seasons, to accomplish the beneficent views of 
the Creator in the behalf of man. How many plants 
and flowers has spring thus produced ! What crops of 
fruit has summer ripened : and what an abundant har- 
vest has been collected in autumn ! The earth has now 
fulfilled its design for this year, and is going to repose 
for a short time. Thus nature is continually employed 
during the greatest part of the year; even in her rest 
she is active, and in silence prepares a new creation. 
Have we been equally active ? Have we employed our 
time so as to bring forth fruit ? The husbandman now 
counts his sheaves; should we not be able to reckon 
some virtues, some good works ? Have the pleasures 
of summer rendered us better and more grateful ? Has 
a contemplation of nature excited us to lift our hearts to 
God ? What have our occupations been during the 
long summer days ? Have they contributed to the glory 
of God, and the good of our fellow-creatures ? In con- 
templating the sun, the flowers, and so many delightful 
objects, have we felt those sentiments which such mag- 
nificent scenes are calculated to excite ? Are we con- 
scious that this summer has not, like many others, been 
lost upon us ? 

We are still blest with life ; and can reflect on the 
spring and summer which are just elapsed. Can all 
those who have seen the first of May, say as much ; 

p 2 


Alas, many of them before the end of the summer, yea 
even before it began, have passed from the land of the 
living into the empire of the dead. It is right, O our 
God and Preserver, that we should bless thee for our 
continued existence. But we also shall soon depart; 
and possibly we have seen our last summer ! And what 
shall become of us, if we be called to give account of the 
manner in which we have spent the past I Enter not 
into judgment with us, O God ! 



At this season the nights continually increase in 
length ; and it cannot be denied but this arrangement is 
in some respects disagreeable. For although a part of 
the night is appropriated to strengthen and refresh us by 
sleep, this very circumstance points out to us the weak- 
ness and frailty of our nature. Hence it is, that at the 
commencement of the night all our employments are 
interrupted, not only from the want of light but also 
from the necessity of repose, and from the animal strength 
and spirits being exhausted. It is no wonder, there- 
fore, that the hours of the night should appear so long 
and tedious, especially when we are restless and cannot 

With what impatience does the sick man count the 
hours, and long for the rising of the sun ! Another 
inconvenience of the night is, that we are exposed to 
lose our way, and meet with disasters. When the light 
of the sun is withdrawn, and the shades of night veil 
the sky, we cannot see where we walk, we are every 
moment stopped, and make false steps. How many 
travellers wander in the night time, get into bad roads 
among briars and thorns, bogs and pits, and by falling 
over precipices meet with instant death ! Besides, during 
the night we are exposed to attacks, either in our own 
houses or on a journey, by wicked and perverse men ; 
for the darkness of the night is favourable to all sorts of 
crimes, encourages the disturbers of the public peace, and 


Veils their transgressions from the eyes of men. What 
renders the nights still further inconvenient is, that they are 
cold ; for when the sun is set, and his rays are withdrawn, 
one half of the globe is deprived of his vivifying heat, 
as well as of his light, and this renders the long winter 
nights very disagreeable. We may add to all this, that 
night by its regular return presents us continually with 
a new emblem of death. 

There is neither constant night nor day upon the 
earth ; and although the time of darkness in winter is 
long, and that even during the summer the regular returns 
of darkness cause the division of days, it is nevertheless 
certain that God has given our globe more light than 
darkness; an advantage which we enjoy by means of 
the iVilight, and by the light of the moon and stars. 
Blessed be the Lord for the light of the moon and stars ! 
Blessed be his name for the light of the sun, and the 
splendour of noonday ! But more especially may his 
name be magnified for the light which his Gospel has 
diffused over the dark night of ignorance, error, and 
misery ! Some rays from the heavenly world fall upon 
us and enlighten us in the dark path in which we walked ! 
Let us remember that in our most obscure nights, in our 
times of sorrow and distress, we are marching to the 
region of light and joy. Should it sometimes happen 
that sleep forsakes us in the midst of the darkness of 
the night, and that sickness or perplexing cares cause us 
to reckon the melancholy hours, let us comfort ourselves 
with this thought, that we are not buried without hope 
in the darkness of an eternal night, but that we are 
advancing towards our heavenly country, towards those 
blessed mansions where there is no night, no alternatives 
of light and darkness, no sorrow nor anxious care. 

Blessed be God that the night of ignorance, darkness, 
and distress, with which we are encompassed here below, 
is not an eternal night ? Heaven and an endless glory 
will soon be the portion of the righteous. Sun and 
moon, and ye radiant stars which blaze in the firmament, 
hasten on and finish the race set before you ! Increase 
your speed, that the time of trial, the revolutions of day 
and night, of months and years, which are assigned me, 
may be terminated. May the light of faith enable me 


to discover the dawn of that great day when all the 
nights and darkness which surround me shall end for 
ever ! Morning of eternity, haste thy appearing, that 
all my hopes may be realized ! I long to arrive in those 
blessed mansions of that permanent city where there is 
no night ; but where an everlasting day shall incessantly 
perfect our knowledge, our holiness, and consequently 
our felicity ! 


The mind of man is ever desirous of obtaining know- 
ledge, and therefore is not satisfied with a superficial 
acquaintance with things, but pushes its inquiries to the 
utmost limits of its energy; but being liable to many 
mistakes, at last, is taught to proceed with caution, and 
to examine every step of the progress. Mathematicians 
have for this purpose investigated the most useful pro- 
perties of quantity in its simple nature, or abstractedly, 
that is, without including the idea of any real physical 
being. From the labours of these men our knowledge 
of natural things has been much increased, many errors 
have been corrected, and frequently a clear path opened 
for our advance. Number, lines, planes, and solids are 
the most familiar objects of mathematics, all of them 
very useful in astronomy. Especially if we cannot form 
ready conceptions of lines and planes, we cannot make 
deep astronomers. It is true, without this, we may find 
enough in the heavens to excite admiration, and may 
there clearly see the finger of God. But if he has 
given us powers to penetrate beyond the mere surface, 
shall we not employ those powers, that our enlarged 
minds may glorify him the more ? 

A straight line is so simple that most men can con- 
ceive of it in every variety of position ; but even in 
following this to immeasurable lengths the minds of 
many- become confused : perhaps this arises from atten- 
tion to other ideas at the same time. Take a straight 
rod, and hold it in any position ; suppose it to be ex- 
tended both ways, its two extremities are still two points 
in space, and the rod so produced is still a natural line, 


of which the original rod is a part ; if indefinitely pro- 
duced, it meets the heavens, and may be considered as 
marking two opposite points in the sky ; it is a diameter 
trf the sphere. Take two fixed stars, and suppose them 
connected in such a rod, this rod will be a line meeting 
the surface of the sphere, but not a diameter, unless it 
pass through the place where we are. The least variety 
of position of a rod in our hand will cause it to meet 
the heavens in different points, supposing it produced in 
each case ; but if we hold two rods precisely parallel, 
and extend them, they will apparently meet the celestial 
sphere in the very same point, for the distance between 
them always appears to decrease as they become longer, 
till it becomes altogether imperceptible ; and thus it is 
that the huge bodies of the fixed stars appear as mere 
points. Hence, if the rod in our hand was directed to 
a fixed star, and produced to it, and another rod were to 
pass through the earth's centre, or its opposite surfaco 
parallel to this in our hand, it would meet the heavens 
in the same star, that is, in the same physical point. 

Many have found much greater difficulty in conceiving 
of planes than of lines. May we not assist ourselves 
thus ? Having put the straight rod in a determinate posi- 
tion, take an inflexible board, or metallic plate, not any 
way warped or curved on the surface, but quite a plane ; 
let it be laid on the rod so as to touch it in two points, 
it will touch it necessarily through its whole length ; now 
imagine this plane to be extended or drawn out without 
deviation towards every side of it. The whole is a 
plane of which the plate is a part ; the extended rod lies 
wholly in it, and if any number of points be assumed 
in it they are said to be all in the same plane. Also, if 
a body move any way, provided it departs not from that 
plane, it is called the plane of its path or orbit. In like 
manner, since our plane is the centre of the sphere, this 
will mark a great circle in the heavens, dividing the 
whole sphere into two equal parts. If we now imagine 
the plane to turn on the rod, or line, as on a hinge, in 
its different positions, it will be considered as a different 
plane, inclined to the plane which it represented in its 
first position. In the same manner as of the line, it 
may be understood, that if a plane parallel to the plate 


extended passes through the earth's centre, it would meet 
the region of the fixed stars in the same circle ; but nearer 
objects would be cut in different lines by these parallel 
planes. It is by the help of lines and planes that the 
positions of the heavenly bodies are accurately ascer- 
tained, and the directions of their motion precisely 
marked. How indulgent is our heavenly Father in fa- 
vouring us with such means of knowledge, ajid in giving 
us minds capable of employing these and other ingenious 
means of gaining an acquaintance with his works ! But 
is it right that our dignified minds should indulge an 
idle curiosity ? Would not this be a base perversion of 
such excellent powers ? How much more so, then, to 
employ them purposely to feed the pride of the heart, 
or to serve any other base purpose ! No, let us not 
employ our power to cherish any impure passion, or 
unholy disposition. Let us have in view the glory of 
God, and the general advantage of mankind. After all 
we can know, we find we are only on the threshold of 
knowledge. We find him the more to be admired, and 
ourselves the more dependant on him. Should we not 
exclaim, O Lord my God, I arrogate nothing to myself; 
I lament I have so often offended thee. Make me 
grateful that thou hast redeemed me ! May I praise 
thee for my being, and all my powers ; and to thy end- 
less glory may they be consecrated for ever ! Amen. 



Woods form one of the most beautiful pictures which 
the surface of the earth presents to the eye. It is true 
that at first sight they are unadorned beauties ; for we 
see at first only a confused collection of trees, and a 
dreary solitude. But an enlightened observer, who terms 
everything beautiful which is good and useful, finds in 
such sights a thousand things worthy his attention. Let 
us therefore visit the forests, they will furnish us with 
many subjects of admiration and gratitude. 

Now that the walks in the fields and meadows are not 


so pleasant as they were in the summer, the forests are 
more interesting, and will yield us solid pleasure. For 
there is no place that invites us more to meditate on the 
grandeur and beauty of the works of nature than a 
lonely wood ; the pleasing obscurity and the profound 
silence which reign there, lead us to recollection, and 
awaken our imagination. 

The multitude and variety of trees are the first things 
which attract our attention. They are not so much dis- 
tinguished from each other by their height as they are 
by their manner of growth, their leaves, and their tex- 
ture. The resinous pine is not remarkable for the beauty 
of its leaves ; they are narrow and pointed ; but they last 
long, like those of the fir ; and their verdure during the 
winter recalls to our memory the beauty of the summer 
months. The foliage of the lime-tree, the ash, and the 
beech, is much more beautiful and varied. The verdure 
of these is admirable ; it relieves and strengthens the 
sight ; and the broad indented leaves of some of them 
form an admirable contrast with the narrow fibrous leaves 
of others. Their seeds, manner of being propagated, 
and the use of their fruit, are as yet but imperfectly 
known. But to what a variety of purposes may the 
timber of trees be applied ! The oak, the growth of 
which is so slow, and which only begins to put forth its 
leaves when other trees are adorned with them, fur- 
nishes the hardest wood, out of which the joiner, the 
cabinet-maker, and the carver, know how to form a 
variety of works which are so durable as even to defy, 
in some measure, the wastes of time. Lighter wood 
serves for other purposes; and as it is more plentiful, 
and grows quicker, it is of more general use. 

It is to forest trees we owe our houses, our ships, a 
part of our fuel, a thousand moveables, and a thousand 
important articles of furniture. Wood is the principal 
matter, or most natural pabulum of fire, without which, 
in irnny countries, men could neither prepare their food, 
nor carry on their manufactures. The industry of man 
has taught him to polish, turn, cut, and carve wood into 
a multitude of works, as elegant as they are durable. 
The divine wisdom has distributed forests with more or 
less abundance over the whole earth. In some countries 
p 3 


they are at a great distance from each other ; in others, 
they occupy many leagues, and raise their majestic tops to 
the clouds. A scarcity of woods in some countries is 
compensated by their abundance in others. Neither the 
continual use which men make of them, nor the ravages 
of accidental fires, nor the vast quantities consumed in 
severe winters, have yet been able to exhaust these rich 
gifts of nature. In the space of twenty years we see a 
forest, where we had before discovered some low copse, 
or a few scattered trees. 

Do we not plainly see in all this the power and good- 
ness of our heavenly Father? How superior is his 
wisdom to ours ! If we had assisted at the works of 
creation, probably we should have found many objec- 
tions to the production of forests ; we should have pre- 
ferred orchards and fertile fields. But that Being who 
is infinitely wise has foreseen the necessities of men in 
all possible circumstances. And it is in those very 
countries where the cold is most intense, or wood is 
needed for navigation, that the largest forests are found. 
From their unequal distribution a considerable branch 
of commerce results, and new connexions are formed 
among men. Each of us partakes of the numerous 
advantages which woods afford to men ; and in creating 
forests God has designed the particular good which re- 
sults to each. Blessed be thou, our heavenly Father, 
who hast condescended to think of us before we felt our 
necessities, or could represent them to thee ! In every- 
thing thou hast prevented our wishes, and liberally pro- 
vided for us ! May we answer the end for which we 
were formed, and for which we have received so many 
benefits, and pay that tribute of gratitude, love, and 
praise, which is so justly thy due ! 

It is not left to man to plant and maintain forests. 
All other goods must be acquired by labour. The ground 
must be ploughed, and the seed sown, at the expense of 
much trouble and toil. But God has reserved the trees 
of the forests to himself; he has planted, he preserves 
them ; and man has little to do in their cultivation. 
They grow and multiply independently of his care ; they 
repair their losses continually by new shoots ; and there 
is always enough to supply our necessities. To be 


convinced of this we have only to cast our eye upon the 
seeds of the lime-tree, the maple, and the elm. From 
these little seeds vast bodies are produced, which rear 
their heads to the clouds. It is thou alone, O Lord God 
Almighty, who hast established them, and hast supported 
them for ages against the efforts of winds and tempests '. 
It is thou who sendest dew and rain sufficient to make 
them renew their verdure annually, and to keep up a 
kind of immortality among them. 

The earth which bears the forests does not produce 
them ; and we might even say that it does not nourish 
them. The verdure, flowers, and seeds, with which trees 
are annually covered, and of which they are annually 
divested, and the sap which is continually dissipated, 
are losses which would in time exhaust the earth itself if 
it furnished the matter for them. Of itself it is a dull, 
heavy, dry, and barren mass, which derives from other 
quarters the juices and nourishment which it com- 
municates to plants. The principles of their growth do 
not proceed from the earth; but the air, without our 
assistance, furnishes an abundance of water, salt, oil, 
and fire, and all other matters which are requisite for the 
growth of trees. 

O man ! laden with so many benefits, raise thy heart 
to that great Being who delights to do thee good. 
Woods and forests are heralds of his bounty, and thou 
must be guilty of the greatest ingratitude if thou neglect 
to acknowledge this benefit, which almost every part of 
thy house must recall to thy memory. 



We may say with truth, that feeling is the universal 
sense of animals ; it is the basis of all other sensations ; 
for seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting cannot exist 
without contact. But as the touch operates differently 
in seeing from what it does in hearing, and in hearing 
from what it does in the other organs of sensation, we 
may therefore distinguish the sense of feeling, properly 


so called, from that universal sensation which we have 
already noticed. Both are produced through the medium 
of the nerves. Of these, anatomists reckon twelve prin- 
cipal pair; they are like small cords or threads, and 
derive their origin from the brain, and are distributed 
through every part of the human body, even to the very 
extremities. Wherever there are nerves there is sen- 
sation ; and wherever the seat of any particular sense is 
found, there also are nerves'which are the general organ 
of that sense. There are optic nerves for the eyes ; 
auditory nerves for the ears ; olfactory nerves for the 
nose ; gustatory nerves for the tongue ; besides the nerves 
which minister to feeling, and which, like that sense, are 
distributed over the whole body. All these nerves pro- 
ceed from the spinal marrow, pass through the lateral 
openings of the vertebrae, and distribute themselves by 
innumerable ramifications to every part. 

The nerves which minister to feeling are found also 
through the organs of the other senses ; for these organs, 
independently of their own peculiar sensations, must be 
susceptible of feeling. Hence it is that the eyes, ears, 
nose, and mouth receive impressions which depend en- 
tirely on feeling, and are not produced by their own 
particular nerves. That sensation is occasioned by the 
interposition of the nerves is indisputable ; for every 
member feels more strongly in proportion to the number 
of its nerves ; and feeling ceases where either there are 
no nerves, or the nerves are cut off. Incisions may be 
made in the fat ; bones, nails, and hair may be cut off, 
without exciting any pain ; or if we think we experience 
any, it is the mere effect of imagination. The bones are 
encompassed with a nervous membrane, and the nails 
are attached to places where there is a plexus, or tissue 
of nerves ; and it is only when one of these nerves is 
irritated that we feel the sense of pain. Therefore we 
cannot with propriety say, My tooth aches, for as it is a 
bone it can have no feeling, but the nerve which is 
attached to it may feel pain when too much irritated. 

Let us here admire the wisdom and goodness of God. 
In thus diffusing the sense of feeling over the whole 
body, he has evidently had our well-being, in view. The 
other senses are situated where they inay best accomplish 


their functions ; and serve for the preservation of all the 
memhers. Now as it was necessary for the security and 
welfare of the body that each part might be informed of 
whatever may be useful or injurious, pleasing or dis- 
agreeable to it ; it was also necessary that the sense of 
feeling should be diffused over the whole body. It is 
another proof of the Divine wisdom, that several animals 
should have the sense of feeling in a more exquisite 
degree than men have, as that delicacy of feeling is 
necessary for their manner of life ; and compensates them 
for the privation of some other sense. The horns of the 
snail, for instance, have the most exquisite sensibility; 
the least obstacle causes them to draw them in with the 
utmost readiness. How delicate also must the feeling 
of the spider be, when in the midst of that web 
which it has so ingeniously woven, it can perceive the 
least motion which the approach of other insects may 
occasion ! 

But without dwelling on the sense of feeling in ani- 
mals, it will sufficiently excite our admiration if we con- 
sider this sense as it exists in man. How can the nerves, 
which appear to be only susceptible of less or more 
length, breadth, tension, and vibration, transmit to the 
soul so many different kinds of ideas and sensations ? 
Can there be such a correspondence between the soul 
and body that nerves of a certain determinate size, struc- 
ture, and tension should always produce certain sen- 
sations. Has each organ of sense nerves so arranged 
and adjusted, so analogous to the corpuscles, or small 
particles of matter which emanate from bodies, that 
the impressions which they receive from them should 
be always followed with certain determinate sensa- 
tions ? It seems, at least, that the pyramidal form of 
the nervous papillae, which are the immediate instru- 
ments of taste and feeling, gives some probability to this 
conjecture. But our knowledge is too limited to decide 
on this point, and we are obliged humbly to acknowledge 
that this is one of the mysteries of nature which perhaps 
cannot be fathomed in this life. 

Let us give God thanks that with all the other senses 
which his goodness has bestowed upon us, he has also 
given us the sense of feeling. Of how many pleasures 
should we be deprived if our bodies had less sensibility ! 


We could not then discern fully what would be advan- 
tageous to us, nor shun what would prove injurious. 
How well would it he if our souls had as lively a sense 
of what is excellent and honest, and as decided a taste 
for holiness as our bodies have for pleasure ! This moral 
sense was in the beginning impressed on our souls ; but 
alas, it is almost obliterated ; and how deplorable must 
our state be, if it be totally and finally lost ! Great God, 
preserve us from so great an evil ! 



Come, my friends, let us feel and acknowledge the 
goodness of the Creator. Let us think with gratitude 
on the time we have spent in the bosom of joy ; while, 
exempt from inquietude and trouble, renewed nature 
filled us with delight ; when devotion followed us to the 
green bowers, and when even the shadow of sorrow dis- 
appeared from our habitations ; when, hand in hand, we 
traversed the flowery paths, everywhere seeking and 
finding the Creator ; when from the thick bush, whose 
foliage had invited the aerial songsters, their melodious 
notes reached our ears, while peace, friendship, and inno- 
cent joy abundantly heightened the pleasure. Smiling 
nature dealt out her flowers with a liberal hand; we 
breathed the balsamic odour of roses. The pink and 
the wallflower perfumed the air around us, and towards 
the evening of a fine day, the sporting zephyrs wafted 
us the sweetest exhalations on their airy wings. Then 
our souls felt a sweet transport; the opening of our lips 
was thanksgiving to the Lord, and under the rose-bushes 
we mingled our voices with the melodious concerts of 

Often, when the gentle breeze had fanned the burning 
air of summer, and the birds felt themselves animated 
with new vigour ; when the azure clouds of the sky be- 
came dissipated, and the ruler of the day promised us 

* This paper is all in verse in the German. 


his favours, pleasure lent us wings, and we cheerfully 
left the noisy ahodes of the city to seek the green shades 
vaulted by nature. There we were undisturbed ; wis- 
dom, piety, and innocent joy accompanied us to the 
rural retreat, where we went to admire nature. The 
bushes, shaken with the evening breeze, afforded us a 
delightful shade, and diffused a refreshing coolness 
around : and nature drew from unfailing springs the con- 
tentment which she pours into hearts that are pure. 
There, entirely given up to our Creator, to nature, and 
to reflections on our own happiness, our eyes were bathed 
in tears of joy. 

The songs of gladness which resounded from every 
part of the forest tuned our hearts to pleasure and gra- 
. titude. The joyous bleatings of the full-fed flocks heard 
at a distance, the melodious notes of the shepherd's pipe, 
the dull buzzing of the beetle which fluttered among 
the flowers, and even the hoarse and monotonous 
croaking of the frogs warming themselves on the banks 
of the rivulet, all impressed our minds with joy, and 
gradually elevated our souls to the Creator. There his 
supreme wisdom was manifested in the water, in the air, 
in the quadruped, -the insect, and the perfume of flowers. 
A beautiful country, an emblem of that inhabited by 
our first parents, presented itself to our eyes. At a dis- 
tance we perceived old and sturdy forests, and hills 
gilded by the rays of the sun. The pleasing mixture of 
the most diversified colours ; the rural flowers, the golden 
crops, the rich green carpet wrought by the hands of 
nature, the treasures of the meadows, and the sweet 
aliment of the herds and flocks, which yield us their 
wholesome milk ; the food of man as yet hidden in the 
tender ear; all these were objects sufficient to excite a 
feeling heart to glorify the Creator, and celebrate his 

There nature spread before us the majesty of her 
Author. The magnificent universe, we may justly say, 
is too beautiful to be the abode of inconsiderate, ungrate- 
ful man. For him the wings of the wind waft their 
refreshing breezes ; for him the silver stream murmurs 
along, when at mid-day he rests from his labours ; for 
him the corn ripens, and the trees bear their fruit ; 
all creation ministers unto him, yet he is regardless of it ! 


But they who love their Maker will discover in the 
breeze and in the brook, in the field and in the flower, 
in the spire of grass and in the ear of corn, the traces 
of his eternal wisdom ; and to such, universal nature is 
the herald of his power. That God who created the angel, 
has also given being to the grain of dust. It is by him 
that the mite lives, and the elephant, the burden of the 
earth. At the sight of a blade of grass, as well as at 
the view of the aloe spike, a thinking mind will raise 
itself to the Creator ; for the sprat, as well as the whale, 
proclaims the grandeur of the Most High. Examine 
his works, and answer me : Is he not as great in the 
breeze as in the tempest ? in the drop as in the ocean ? 
in the spark as in the starry firmament ? in the worm 
as in the hippopotamus ? The vast creation is the sanc- 
tuary of God ; the world is a temple consecrated to 
his glory; and man was appointed to be his priest in 
nature, and not the destroyer and tyrant of created 



Every part of the world has animals peculiar to 
itself. And it is for very wise reasons that the Creator 
has placed some in one country rather than another. The 
most remarkable animals of the southern countries are 
the elephant and the camel. In size they surpass all 
other quadrupeds. The elephant especially^ is like an 
animated mountain, and his bones are like pillars. His 
head is attached to a very short neck, and is armed with 
two kinds of weapons, with which, when necessary, he 
can even tear trees up by the roots. Had his neck been 
longer, it could not have supported the weight of his 
head, nor have kept it up. But to make amends for 
the shortness of the neck, he has a very long trunk. 
This he uses as a hand to carry his food to his mouth, 
without being under the necessity of stooping. He can 
not only move, bend, and turn this in all directions, as 
we do our fingers, but use it also as an organ of sensa- 
tion ; and it may be properly said of this animal, that 


he has his nose in his hand. His eyes are small in pro- 
portion to the size of his body ; but they are bright, and 
full of fire ; and in them may be seen all his inward 
sensations and emotions. In his natural state, the ele- 
phant, though wild, is neither sanguinary nor ferocious : 
he is of a gentle disposition, and uses his weapons only 
in his own defence. If he be not provoked, he does 
harm to no person ; but he is terrible when irritated : he 
seizes his adversary with his trunk, jerks him like a 
stone, and then treads him to death. The elephant eats 
a hundred pounds of grass in a day ; but his body being 
of an enormous weight, he bruises and destroys ten 
times more with his feet than he uses for food. His 
principal enemy, and often his conqueror, is the rhino- 
ceros, an animal resembling the wild boar, who uses the 
horn on his nose to tear up the belly of the elephant. It 
requires hut little attention to discover the wisdom of 
God in the formation of the elephant ; he causes it to be 
produced in a country abounding with grass ; and he has 
taken care that it shall not become a burden to the 
earth by multiplying too fast, for the female goes two 
years with young, and does not couple with the male till 
three years after. 

The camel is one of the most useful animals of the 
East. It is admirably adapted to bear the greatest fa- 
tigues among dry deserts and burning sands, as it is able 
to go four or five days without drinking, and requires 
but little food in proportion to its size. It crops the few 
plants and shrubs which grow in the desert ; and when 
it can find none, about two quarts of beans and barley 
will suffice it for a whole day. Besides the hunch on 
its back, there is still another singularity in its make. 
It has two gullets ; one terminates in the stomach, and 
the other in a kind of bag, which serves it as a reservoir 
to keep water in. Water continues in it without putre- 
faction ; and when the animal is thirsty, or has occasion 
to moisten its dry food, or assist it in ruminating, it 
throws up a portion of the water even to the oesophagus, 
which, having moistened the throat, descends afterwards 
into the stomach. The ordinary load for a camel is from 
seven to eight hundred pounds weight ; with which it 
can travel several miles in an hour, and continue for 


twelve or fifteen hours each day. The fleshy hoofs of 
the camel are made for walking in the sands ; whereas 
the horny hoof of the horse would be hurt or burnt by 

The most remarkable animals in the northern coun- 
tries are the elk, the sable, and the reindeer. The first 
of these animals is large, strong, and well-shaped. His 
head pretty nearly resembles, in colour, shape, and size, 
that of the mule. His limbs are long and strong : his 
hair of a light grey. This animal is simple, stupid, and 
timid. He finds proper food everywhere, but prefers 
the bark and young shoots of the willow, birch, and 
service-tree. He is exceedingly swift ; and his legs being 
very long, he can pass over a great deal of ground in a 
short time. 

The sable wanders in the forests of Siberia ; and is 
very much prized on account of its beautiful fur. The 
hunting of this animal is generally the doleful occu- 
pation of the poor wretches who are banished to the 

The reindeer is an animal of a pleasing and elegant 
shape, nearly resembling the stag. It seeks its own food, 
which commonly consists of moss, grass, leaves, and 
buds of trees. The inhabitants of the north derive the 
greatest advantages from it. They eat its flesh, drink 
its milk, and, yoking it to a kind of sledge, are drawn by 
it with incredible swiftness over the ice and snow. All 
the wealth of the Laplanders consists in their reindeers. 
The skin furnishes them with clothes, beds, coverings, 
and tents : in a word, they derive from this animal all 
the necessaries of life. 

What has been said of these foreign animals may give 
rise to important reflections. How prodigious is the dis- 
tance between the elephant and mite ! And what a 
wonderful variety in the outward form of animals, in 
their shape, their organs, senses, motions, and manner 
of propagating their species ; nevertheless, every thing 
is perfectly adapted and proportioned to the manner of 
life appointed them. But as there are animals in dif- 
ferent parts of the world which could not accommodate 
themselves to the air, climate, food, and temperature of 
European countries; so there may be millions of ani- 


mals which could not exist on our glohe, and which 
could no more lire among us than we could in Saturn or 

God ! thy empire is unbounded. Thou wouldst 
realize all kinds of life and all possible happiness ; and 
this plan, so worthy thy goodness, thou hast executed 
with infinite power and wisdom. May thy name be 
praised for ever and ever ! 



There is a great variety of winds. In some places 
they are constant during the whole year, and always 
blow in the same direction : in other places they change 
at particular times, but always according to regular and 
fixed laws. In the open sea, between the tropics, and 
some degrees beyond them, there is an easterly wind, 
which continues the whole year without any consider- 
able variation. To the north of the line, the wind blows 
towards the north-east, and to the south of the line it 
blows towards the south-east, more or less, according to 
the position of the sun. But this should be understood 
of the wind that prevails in the open sea ; for islands 
and great continents which are in its way may alter its 
direction, and cause it to become north-east in certain 
places. In the southern parts of the ocean, the wind is 
generally westerly. The nearer the coast the more it 
varies ; and it is still more so on land. The constant 
east wind is chiefly owing to the heat which the sun 
communicates to our atmosphere. In the Indian Sea 
there are winds called monsoons, or trade- winds, which 
blow in the same direction for three or six months toge- 
ther, and then change and blow in the opposite direction 
for the same length of time. The cause of these winds 
has not yet been accounted for in a satisfactory manner ; 
but certainly we must look for it in the variations of heat 
and cold, in the position of the sun, the nature of the 
soil, the inflammation of meteors, the condensation of 
the vapours into rain, and other similar circumstances. 


There are both seas and countries which have winds and 
calms peculiar to them. In Egypt, and in the Persian 
Gulf, there prevails often during the summer a scorching 
wind, which prevents respiration, and consumes every 
thing. At the Cape of Good Hope a cloud is often 
seen which is called the fatal cloud, or ox eye : it is at 
at first very small, but visibly increases, till in a short 
time a furious tempest proceeds from it, which over- 
sets ships, and plunges them into the depth of the 

Variable and constant winds, which have no deter- 
mined duration or direction, prevail over the greater part 
of the globe. It is true that certain winds may blow 
more frequently in one place than in another ; but this 
is not at fixed times : and they begin and end without 
any kind of rule. They vary in proportion to the dif- 
ferent causes which derange the equilibrium of the air. 
Heat and cold, rain and fair weather, straits, capes, 
and promontories, may contribute much to interrupt their 
course, and alter their direction: There are doubtless 
many other causes of the different modification and 
alteration of the air which are as yet unknown. 

One thing particularly remarkable, and which always 
happens in almost every place, is that a little before sun- 
rise, when the air is perfectly calm and serene, just at 
the dawn there is a quick easterly breeze, which begins 
at the approach of the sun, and continues for some time 
after he is risen. This undoubtedly proceeds from the 
air being warmed by the rising sun, and being rarefied, 
it drives the contiguous air easterly ; this necessarily 
produces an east wind, which ceases afterwards in pro- 
portion as the air around us becomes warm. For the 
same reason the east wind must not only precede the 
sun in the torrid zone, but also be much stronger than 
in our regions, because the action of the sun is more 
moderate with us than in the vicinity of the line. In 
the torrid zone the wind blows almost constantly from 
east to west ; there a west wind very rarely hap- 

We see, then, that the winds are not the effects of 
chance, to which neither cause nor design can be attri- 
buted. In these, as in all other things, the Creator 

THE CnASE. 333 

manifests his wisdom and goodness. He has so arranged 
every thing, that the wind hlows from time to time, 
and an absolute calm very rarely occurs. He regulates 
the motion, strength, and duration of the winds, and he 
prescribes the race which they are to run. Even their 
variety is very advantageous ; when a long drought has 
caused both plants and animals to droop, a wind from 
the sea-coast, laden with many vapours, waters the fields 
and revives nature. When this design is accomplished, 
a dry wind proceeds from the east, restores serenity to 
the air, and brings back fair weather. The north wind 
brings with it a great number of icy particles, and drives 
away the noxious vapour of the autumnal air. Lastly, 
to the keen north wind the south wind succeeds, which, 
coming from southern climates, impregnates the air with 
a reviving warmth. By these continual variations fer- 
tility and salubrity are maintained on the earth. 

Who can make these reflections without adoring God ? 
All the elements are in his hand, and his powerful word 
irritates or appeases them. When he commands, storms 
and tempests roar ; they rush from sea to sea, and from 
land to land ; and at his bidding serenity is again re- 
stored. Should we not then be satisfied with our lot, 
seeing all our concerns are in his hand? Cannot he 
who directs the winds regulate also my Jot ? Seeing 
that all the variations of the winds concur aT*his com- 
mand to promote the general welfare of his creatures, 
cannot he cause every occurrence in life to contribute to 
my present and eternal welfare ? 



Hunting is one of the principal amusements of a 
certain class of men at this season, but it were to be 
wished that less importance were attached to it. For 
the dominion which man has over animals, and the plea- 
sure he takes in subduing them, is frequently mingled 
with cruelty. Sometimes indeed the death of certain 
animals is necessary, in order to make that use of them 


for which they are designed, or to prevent them from 
multiplying so as to become injurious ; but even then we 
should kill them in the gentlest manner possible ; but 
unfortunately this law of nature is very little attended to 
by the majority of sportsmen. Men in this respect show 
themselves more sanguinary than the most ferocious 
beasts. Is not the mode of hare and stag-hunting shock- 
ing to every feeling heart ? Can it be an innocent 
pleasure to pursue with implacable fury an innocent 
animal which flies before us in mortal anguish, till at 
length, worn out with terror and fatigue, it falls groan- 
ing, and expires in the most horrible convulsions ? Can 
human nature be unaffected at such a sight ? Can man 
behold this without some compassionate emotion ? To 
purchase pleasure by the death of an innocent creature, 
is to purchase it' too dearly. It is a dangerous pleasure 
which habituates men to ferocity and barbarity ; for it is 
impossible that the heart of a man passionately fond of 
hunting, should not sensibly lose the soft feelings of 
humanity. Such a person soon becomes cruel and san- 
guinary; he finds no pleasure but in scenes of horror 
and destruction ; and, being accustomed to be insensible 
towards animals, he soon becomes so toward his fellow- 
creatures. Hunting does not appear to me to be an 
occupation- which we can reconcile to the great duties we 
are called to fulfil. Without speaking of the loss of 
time, a loss in itself of great consequence, it is certain 
that hunting distracts the mind, and fills the imagination 
with ideas which are by no means compatible with 
serious occupations. Gentler amusements are more 
proper to divert and unbend the mind, than these tur- 
bulent pleasures, which almost deprive the soul of the 
use of reflection. 

Hunting must ever appear a suspicious and dangerous 
employment to every moral and religious man. For 
ought we not to be afraid of a pleasure which gives place 
to so many irregularities and sins? How much must 
the health suffer in such a violent exercise, and in such 
sudden transitions from heat to cold ? What excesses, 
what cruelties, what oaths, do such persons indulge them- 
selves in ! How are the horses, the dogs, and even the 
men treated ! What mischief is there done to corn-fields 

DREAMS. 335 

and pasture-ground ! Can all these evils be considered 
only as trifles which deserve no attention, and may be 
practised without scruple ? 

Were we wise, we should seek more pure and innocent 
pleasures, and surely such may be easily found. "We 
nave only to look around us, and we shall everywhere 
discover pleasing objects well calculated to afford us the 
greatest satisfaction. Heaven and earth, the arts and 
sciences, labour, our senses, the conversation of our 
friends, in a word, every surrounding object invites us to 
the enjoyment of pure pleasure. Why then should we 
run after gross and violent pleasures, which never fail to 
leave disgust and remorse behind them. We have within 
ourselves an abundant source of enjoyment; a multi- 
. rude of intellectual and moral faculties, the cultivation 
of which may every moment give us some new satis- 
faction. But it is in this alone that the great science of 
a Christian and philosopher consists. Such have the art 
of being happy without much outward appendages ox- 
great expense ; and they can always be so without 
risking their virtue. 



The inactivity of our soul during sleep is not so com- 
plete as to leave the faculties unemployed. We have 
ideas and representations, and our imagination is con- 
tinually at work. This is the case when we dream. 
However, the soul has but little share in them, except 
so far as relates to the memory ; and perhaps this faculty 
belongs rather to the animal than to the rational soul. 
If we reflect upon our dreams, and examine why they 
are so irregular and unconnected — why the events which 
they represent to us are so fantastic, it will be found 
that this proceeds chiefly from our being more affected 
by sensations than by perceptions. Our dreams repre- 
sent to us persons whom we have never seen, or are 
long since dead : we see them as alive and associate 
with them things which actually exist. If the soul acted 


in dreams as it does when we are awake, a moment 
would be sufficient to set these unconnected and con- 
fused ideas in order. But commonly its attention is 
confined to the receiving and following the images which 
present themselves to it. And although these objects 
appear in the strongest light, yet they are always fantas- 
tically associated, and have no regular connexion; for 
sensations succeed each other without the soul's com- 
bining or putting them in order. We have then sensa- 
tions only, and not notions, for notions can only take 
place when the soul compares sensations, and operations 
on the ideas, which it receives through the medium of 
the senses. Thus dreams are formed in the inferior 
faculties of the soul ; they are not produced by its own 
energy, and can only appertain to the animal memory. 

It is very singular, that in dreams we never imagine 
we hear, but only see. It is still more remarkable that 
the images which we see are perfectly like their originals. 
It seems as if the soul of a painter only could draw such 
true and regular pictures; nevertheless these designs, 
however exact they may be, are executed in dreams by 
persons who have no idea of the art. Beautiful land- 
scapes, which we have never attentively observed, present 
themselves to us in dreams as true and exact as if done 
by the most eminent artists. 

As to the accidental cause of dreams, by which former 
sensations are renewed without the assistance of any 
present and real impression, it ought to be observed, that 
in a state of profound sleep we never dream, because all 
our sensations are extinct, all our organs are inaccessible, 
everything sleeps, the internal as well as the external 
senses. But the inward sense, which falls first asleep, 
is the first that wakes, because it is the most lively and 
active, and may be more easily excited than the outward 
senses. Sleep is then less perfect and less sound, and 
this is properly the time for dreams. Former sensations, 
especially those on which we have not reflected, revive. 
The internal sense, which through the inactivity of the 
external senses, cannot employ itself on present impres- 
sions, is taken up with, and operates on preceding sen- 
sations. It acts in preference on those by which it was 
most forcibly aflFected ; and hence it is, that the greater 

DREAMS. 337 

part of our dreams are either excessively frightful or ex- 
tremely pleasant. 

There is another circumstance in dreams worthy our 
ohservation — they are the image of the character of the 
man. From the phantoms which occupy his imagina- 
tion during the night, we may conclude that he is vir- 
tuous or vicious. A cruel man continues to he so even 
in sleep ; and a benevolent man is even then occupied 
with his mild and benign dispositions. It is however 
true, that an impure or vicious dream may be occasioned 
by the state of the body, or by external or accidental 
circumstances; but our conduct as soon as we awake 
will prove whether these dreams may be imputed to us 
or not ; we need only attend to the judgment we then 
form of them. A good man does not consider his dreams 
.with indifference ; for if during his sleep his mind de- 
viates from the rules of justice and purity, he is affected 
for it when he awakes. It is certain that a soul which 
goes to rest with a lively sense of the favour of God, 
scarcely ever fails in its dreams to have ideas and repre- 
sentations of heavenly things. A good conscience often 
comforts a holy man in his sleep, through the blessed 
knowledge he has of the divine favour. 

But sleep is not the only time when fantastic and un- 
connected objects confuse and disorder our imagination. 
How many people are there who dream while awake ! 
Some have an extravagant idea of themselves, because 
fortune or favour has raised them to places of rank. 
Others make their happiness to consist in empty fame, 
and feed on the chimerical hope of immortality. In- 
toxicated with passion and vain hope, they dream that 
they are happy ; but this frivolous and deceitful felicity 
vanishes like a morning dream. Persons of this character 
have been well described by the prophet : " They re- 
semble," says he, " the hungry man who dreams that he 
eats, but he awakes, and his soul is empty ; they are like 
the thirsty man, who dreams that he drinks, but he 
awakes, and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appe- 
tite ;" Isai. xxix. 8. Let us never seek our happiness 
in vain phantoms or deceitful dreams ! Let us entreat 
the Lord to grant us that wisdom which will direct us 
to aspire after solid and permanent good, after a glory 

vol. 11. Q 


that fadeth not away, which will occasion no tears of re- 
morse, when at the hour of death we come to reflect on 
our past life. 





Everything which the beneficent Creator has pro- 
duced on our globe is admirably connected with another, 
and contributes to the mutual preservation of the whole. 
The earth itself, with all its rocks, minerals, and fossils, 
owes its origin and continuance to the elements. Trees, 
plants, grass, and mosses ; in a word, all vegetables de- 
rive their nourishment from the earth, whilst the animals 
in their turn feed on the productions of the vegetable 
kingdom. Afterwards all these return to their first prin- 
ciples. The earth nourishes the plant, the plant the 
insect, the insect the bird, the bird the wild beast ; and 
in its turn the wild beast becomes the prey of the vul- 
ture, the vulture of the insect, the insect nourishes the 
plant, and the plant becomes earth. Even man, who 
makes use of these things, often becomes their prey in 
his turn. Such is the circle in which all things here 
below revolve. 

Thus all beings have been created for each other, and 
nothing for itself alone. Tigers, lynxes, bears, ermines, 
foxes, and other animals provide us with furs for our 
covering. Hounds traverse the forests, and pursue the 
hare and the stag to furnish our tables; and the part 
which they receive of the prey is very little. The ferret 
drives the rabbit from its deepest recesses into our hands. 
The horse, the elephant, and the camel are trained to 
carry burdens, and the ox to draw the plough. The cow 
gives us her milk; the sheep, its wool; the reindeer 
makes the sledge fly over the snow and ice ; the swine, 
the hedgehog, and the mole dig up the earth, that the 
seeds of plants, being dispersed abroad, may take root the 
more easily. Even the hawk preys for our table, and 


the hen gives us her eggs. The cock awakes us to our 
work, and the lark amuses us with her songs throughout 
the day. The warbling of the blackbird is heard from 
morning to evening, and the melodious accents of the 
nightingale charm us during the night. The superb 
plumage of the peacock delights our eyes. Fish come 
from the depths of the ocean, throng our coasts, and 
swim in our rivers, to furnish men, birds, and beasts with 
abundance of nourishment. The silkworm spins, that 
we may clothe ourselves with its precious web ; bees, 
with indefatigable diligence, collect the honey which we 
find so delicious. The sea casts multitudes of crabs, 
oysters, and all sorts of shell-fish on our coasts, for the 
supply of men and other animals. The lantern-bearer, 
or great fly of Surinam, shines through the darkness to 
enlighten the inhabitants of those countries. 

If we examine the different occupations and labours 
of men, we shall find that they also tend to the same 
end which nature has proposed. The mariner tempts 
the dangers of the sea, and braves the storm, to bring 
merchandises which do not belong to him to the place of 
their destination. The soldier sacrifices his blood for his 
country and the welfare of his fellow-citizens. The 
lawyer is only employed in other people's suits. Sove- 
reigns and magistrates, who are at the head of govern- 
ment, consecrate their time and talents to the good of 
the commonwealth. Parents lay up treasures for their 
children. The husbandman sows and reaps, yet con- 
sumes but little of the produce of his own labour. Thus 
we live not for ourselves alone ; for the divine Author 
of nature has so ordered it, that all beings should become 
useful to each other. Let us learn from this what our 
mutual duties are. The strong should succour the weak. 
The man of understanding should help others with his 
advice. The learned should instruct the ignorant. In 
a word, we should love our neighbour as ourselves, and 
thus fulfil the designs of the Creator. These reciprocal 
offices which men owe to each other, have induced them 
to form societies. That which divided force could not 
effect is easily accomplished by united energy. No per- 
son could build a beautiful edifice, or construct a palace, 
were he obliged alone to lay the foundation, dig the 



cellars, mould and burn the brick, raise the walls, put 
on the roof, make the windows, decorate the apartments,. 
&c. But all these are easily performed by a number of 
workmen, who mutually assist each other. Such is the 
invariable law of nature, that in all arts and sciences 
nothing of importance can be brought to perfection, 
without the concurrence of several persons. How many 
thousands of men are requisite to make one monarch 
powerful, an empire happy, or a nation famous and 
nourishing ! 

How evident is the wisdom of the Creator in all this ! 
That the inhabitants of our globe, and particularly men, 
might be happy, he has established such connexions and 
relations among all beings, that the one cannot subsist 
without the other. Experience must teach us that God 
has the welfare of his creatures continually in view. The 
whole world was planned for this purpose ; and all its 
parts concur to the happiness of mankind. Even the 
things which appear to be of the least importance, and 
which we scarcely condescend to look at, contribute their 
part also to render us happy. The very insects, which 
are so despicable in our eyes, are of great use to us. 
Thousands of hands are daily employed in our behalf. 
How many animals lose their lives in order to support 
ours ! And in how many other ways, of which we are 
ignorant, is nature active in our favour ! Kind and in- 
dulgent Father ! Teach us how to appreciate thy good- 
ness, and our own happiness ! And may we henceforth 
be inspired with the resolution to employ all our strength 
in thy service, who hast condescended to do so much for 



The seasoning most extensively used, and what the 
rich and the poor, the king and the beggar, cannot do 
without, is common salt. Its savour is so pleasing, and 
it has such excellent properties for digestion, that we 
may consider it one of the most precious presents which 


nature has bestowed on man. It is given to us in dif- 
ferent ways. The inhabitants of the coasts get it from 
the sea. They dig pits on the shore, which they call 
salt-pits, and plaster them with clay ; the sea flows into 
them when it is rough ; the water detained by the pits 
evaporates by the heat of the sun, and a great quantity 
of salt remains at the bottom. In other places nature 
produces salt springs, fountains, pits, and lakes. To ex- 
tract the salt, the water is evaporated in large pans or 
caldrons set over the fire. In some other places, salt is 
found in solid masses in the mountains. The most fa- 
mous salt mines are those of Catalonia and Poland. 
These different kinds of salt are all alike in their chief 
properties. Experience teaches us, that salt dissolved in 
the stomach and intestines has a digestive power, pre- 
vents putrefaction, and the too great fermentation of the 
aliments. Hence it is, that it is used internally to re- 
store and promote digestion, to remove crudities from the 
stomach, to increase the appetite, and to prevent costive- 
ness. It not only dissolves phlegm and the viscosities 
which hurt digestion and destroy appetite, but it is also 
a very excellent stimulant for the stomach ; the nerves 
of which it gently irritates, and assists all its operations. 
Common salt is therefore an excellent digestive, and per- 
haps the best in the whole economy of nature. Other 
salts act too powerfully, or are too unpleasant to the taste 
to be mixed with our food. But common salt acts gently, 
assists the concoction of all eatables, and prevents that 
putrefaction to which they are naturally disposed. 

Salt is then an especial blessing, which we do not suf- 
ficiently esteem, because it is common. Let us pay more 
attention to it, that we may be excited to that gratitude 
which so precious a gift requires. Were we to attend 
more to the daily blessings which we receive from the 
Lord, what causes should we find to acknowledge and 
celebrate his goodness ! Let us sanctify the use of ali- 
ments with such reflections. The greater part of our 
food would be flat and insipid were we deprived of salt, 
which greatly increases its flavour and the pleasure we 
receive from it. But this is the smallest part of its ad- 
vantages, seeing it is of the utmost consequence to our 
health, as we have already noticed. What a blessing it 


will be, should this meditation lead us to prize this gift 
of God better than we have yet done ! Our hearts will 
become more and more established in gratitude and obe- 
dience, when we accustom ourselves, to reflect on the 
blessings which we receive from the hands of our great 

In another point of view salt must be interesting to 
every observer of the works of nature. The smallest 
particles of our common salt seem as if they were all ex- 
actly cut into a cubic body having eight angles and six 
sides, like a die : hence it must happen, that most masses 
of this sort of salt will be terminated by squares, and 
possess the form of cubes. Here again the hand of the 
Most High is visible, which has given salt an invariable 
form, and has cut all its masses after the same model 
since the beginning of the world. This figure, always 
regular, and ever the same, is a proof that it owes not 
its origin to chance or fortuitous motion, but to the will 
of an Intelligent Being. This thought is too important, 
too necessary for our peace, to be disregarded : we should 
seize every opportunity of recollecting it, and endeavour 
to have it more and more deeply impressed on our 



All great rivers owe their rise to a number of rivulets; 
rivulets are formed by brooks and streams; and these 
owe their origin to springs and fountains. This is in- 
contestable. But whence come the springs ? As water, 
by its gravity, always occupies the lowest parts of the 
surface of the earth, whence then can the water come 
which constantly flows from the most elevated regions ? 

In the first place, it is certain that rain, snow, and 
in general all the vapours which fall from the air, fur- 
nish a great part of the water which flows from springs. 
It is on this account that fountains and rivers are few in 
Arabia Deserta, and in some parts of Africa, where it 
scarcely ever rains. These waters soak into the earth, 


and penetrate it till they meet with beds of clay through 
which they cannot pass. Here they accumulate and 
form fountains ; or else they collect in cavities or grottoes, 
which afterwards overflow, or the water leaks out from 
thousands of crevices, great and small, and endeavours to 
descend to the lowest places, whither its gravity natu- 
rally carries it. Thus the water runs incessantly, and 
forms subterraneous currents, which, uniting with similar 
ones, form what is termed a vein of water. It is never- 
theless very likely, that in certain countries at least, 
fountains do not owe their origin to the rains only which 
fall from the atmosphere, for we sometimes find consider- 
able springs and lakes on high mountains, which could 
not, as far as we can judge, be formed by rain or snow 
alone. There are many springs which in all seasons give 
the same quantity of water ; and sometimes furnish even 
more in times of great heat and drought than in moist 
and rainy seasons. We must therefore conclude, that 
there may be other causes both for the origin and main- 
tenance of fountains; yet there will be less need for 
others if we include watery vapours in the notion of 

Many springs seem to come from vapours, which, being 
suspended in the atmosphere, are driven by currents of 
air towards mountains and elevated places, or by the 
power of universal attraction are drawn towards these 
great masses. The atmosphere is, more or less, laden 
with aqueous vapours, which, being driven and pressed 
against the hard cold rocks, condense into drops, and 
thus swell the springs. Yet still we must grant that all 
springs cannot owe their rise to the above causes; for 
would not the Danube and Rhine, and other rivers which 
come from high mountains, be dried up in winter, when 
these enormous masses are converted into snow and ice ? 
Therefore caverns which communicate with the sea and 
with lakes, may contribute something to the origin of 
fountains. There are, doubtless, vast cavities in the 
earth supplied with water by rains, melted snow, and 
the like. 

The sea-water, having gone by subterraneous canals 
into these great cavities, rises in vapours through a mul- 
titude of chinks, and forms drops, which, falling down by 


their own gravity, often find another path; because 
water cannot always penetrate where vapours do. Per- 
haps also the sea-water, especially in countries contigu- 
ous to the ocean, is filtered through beds of earth, by 
which certain springs are produced. These springs have 
generally a taste similar to the water to which they owe 
their origin. But the springs which are found on the 
tops of mountains cannot owe their rise to this cause; 
for the sea-water cannot rise so high ; and supposing it 
could, the springs would be neither sweet nor potable. 

All the causes which we have already mentioned con- 
tribute more or less to the formation of fountains ; but 
there may be other causes which are still unknown. It 
is true, that nature is ever simple in her operations, but 
that simplicity does not consist in employing only one 
cause for each particular effect ; it consists in using the 
fewest causes possible, which do not prevent the pre- 
sence of a number of auxiliary causes, that may concur 
to produce the effect which nature has proposed. 

But though this may be otherwise, and though the 
origin of fountains were yet more dubious and obscure 
than it really is, we must still acknowledge God as the 
Creator and Preserver of those salutary springs. " God 
speaks, and the fountains spring from the bosom of the 
mountains; springs become rivulets; and rivulets swell 
in great rivers, which carry with them abundance and 
fertility wherever they go. The inhabitants of the coun- 
try quench their thirst at them, and seek the cool re- 
freshing shade of the woods through which they run. 
They murmur through the forests, and the wild beasts 
drink of their waters and rejoice in them." It is God, 
therefore, who causes these beneficent fountains to spring 
from the high places of the earth ; sometimes they glide 
and wind among the mountains, at other times they pre- 
cipitate themselves in cataracts from lofty eminences, 
being increased by atmospheric vapours, or the union oi 
different streams. By this wise arrangement, God main- 
tains in the kingdom of nature that continual circulation 
of brooks, rivulets, and rivers, which contributes to the 
fertility of the earth, the salubrity of our dwellings, and 
the draining of waters, whose too great abundance might 
become injurious. 



Let us examine the hair which covers our heads, its 
wonderful structure, and its various uses, and we shall 
find that it is not only highly worthy of our attention, 
but that very sensible traces of the power and wisdom 
of our Creator are easily discernible in it. 

Every complete hair appears to the naked eye an 
oblong slender filament, with a knot or bulb at the root, 
which is generally thicker and always more transparent 
than the rest. The filament is the body of the hair, and 
the bulb is its root. The largest hairs have their root, 
and even a part of the body, inclosed in a small vessel or 
capsule, formed by a thin membrane. The size of this 
sheath is in proportion to the size of the root ; but the 
sheath is always a little wider, that the root may not be 
too much compressed. In such a sheath, the root of the 
hair is always found. The root has two parts ; the one 
external, the other internal. The outward part is a pel- 
licle composed of little laminae : the inward is a glutinous 
fluid in which some fibres are united ; this is the mar- 
row of the root. From the outward part of the root, 
there grow in general five, very rarely six, little white 
threads, exceedingly fine, transparent, hard, and often 
twice as long as the root. Besides these filaments, we see 
other little bulbs rising here and there, but they are vis- 
cous, and easily dissolved by heat. The main body of 
the hair springs from the interior part of the bulb ; it is 
composed of three parts ; the exterior sheath, the interior 
tubes, and the marrow. 

When the hair comes to the pore of the skin through 
which it is to pass, it is strongly enveloped in the pellicle 
of the root, which then forms a very small tube. The 
hair pushes the cuticle before it which serves as a sheath 
to protect it in the beginning, while it is still soft and 
tender. The rest of the sheath or covering of the whole 
.hair is of a particular substance ; it is transparent, and 



especially so at the point. In young hair this coat is 
very soft, but it afterwards becomes so hard and elastic, 
that it shrinks back with some noise when it is cut. 
This sheath or coat preserves the hair a long time. Just 
under the coat there are many little fibres which extend 
along the hair from the root to the point. They are 
united among themselves, and with the sheath which is 
their common covering, by several elastic filaments ; and 
this bundle of fibres forms a tube filled with two sub- 
stances, the one fluid, the other solid, which together 
constitute the marrow of the hair. 

An attentive observer of the works of God will ac- 
knowledge the Divine wisdom in the admirable struc- 
ture of a hair, as well as in the other parts of the human 
body. Thus, from the crown of the head to the sole of 
the foot, there is nothing in man which does not pro- 
claim the perfections of the Creator. Even those parts 
which seem of least importance, and which might be 
given up without inconvenience, are nevertheless of great 
importance, if they be considered in their connexion with 
the other members of our bodies,.or in their wonderful 
structure and use. This may be asserted particularly in 
regard to the hair. How many are there who consider 
it an object worthy of no attention, and who never think 
they can discover any traces of the wisdom and goodness 
of God in it ! But, besides that in general there is no 
part of our body without its particular appointment and 
use, it is very easy to discern the wise purposes for which 
the hair has been given us. 

And first, it is evident that it contributes much to the 
beauty and ornament of the face. But this is probably 
its least use. The hair manifestly defends the head, 
and preserves it from cold and damp ; and keeps the 
brain in its natural state of warmth. It certainly pro- 
motes a gentle and insensible evacuation of some hu- 
mour from the body, helps perspiration, and discharges 
from the head and other parts those superfluous hu- 
mours, which would otherwise accumulate there. The 
hair may answer several other purposes which are as yet 
unknown to us. But it is sufficient to know some of the 
purposes which God has designed to accomplish by it. 
A proper consideration of these must excite us to ac- 


knowledge and adore the power, wisdom, and goodness 
of our great Creator. 



Hitherto we hare been considering the earth, which 
is but a point in comparison of the system of the uni- 
verse. Let us now raise our thoughts to innumerable 
worlds, at the sight of which this point which we and 
millions of other creatures inhabit will be eclipsed, and 
appeal- as nothing. Let us examine, meditate, and adore. 

The sun, which gives life to all, is nearly in the centre 
of the system called the solar system ; and, changing his 
place only a little about the centre of the system, turns 
round its own axis from west to east in about 26 days. 
Round the sun, in oblong or ecliptic orbits, all the pla- 
nets move, from Mercury to the Georgium Sidus, or 
planet Herschel. 

Mercury, who is the nearest to the sun of all the 
planets, performs his revolution in 87 days, 23 hours, 
and 25 minutes ; but by reason of his nearness to the 
sun, he is generally buried in his rays, and therefore 
seldom viftble. 

Venus describes a greater ellipsis, and finishes her re- 
volution in 224 days, 16 hours, and 49 minutes. 

The earth performs her revolution in 365 days, 5 
hours, and 49 minutes, what we commonly term a 
year; and the moon finishes hers in the same space of 

Mars finishes his course in 686 days, 23 hours, and 
30 minutes. 

Jupiter and his four moons, in about 4332 days and 
8 hours ; nearly twelve of our years. 

Saturn, with his seven moons or satellites, employs 
10,761 days and 14 hours, in running his immense cir- 
cuit ; a space of time answering nearly to thirty of our 

Last of all comes the planet Herschel or Georgium 
Sidus, with his six moons, which, as far as our discoveries 


have reached, is the most distant in the solar system ; 
he performs his revolution in 30,445 days, upwards of 
eighty of our years. 

But is even this immense circuit the boundary of 
the universe ? No, certainly ; far beyond the orbit of 
Herschel is the region of the fixed stars, the nearest of 
which is at least 400,000 times further from the earth 
than the earth is from the sun ; although his mean dis- 
tance from us is not less than 95,000,000 of miles, or 
23,799 semi-diameters of the earth ! And how many 
globes may there be in the vast space which separates 
Herschel from the fixed stars, which we cannot dis- 
cover ! 

But is it possible that the sun, which appears to tra- 
verse the half of the sky in twelve hours, should never- 
theless be a fixed point in the centre of the orbits of the 
planets ? Do we not see it in the morning in the east, 
and in the evening in the west? And can the earth 
move continually about the sun without our perceiving 

This objection, founded on the illusion of our senses, 
is really of no weight. Do we perceive the motion of 
the boat when we are gliding down a river ? And when 
we are in a boat or in a carriage, does not every sur- 
rounding object seem to move and pass in a contrary 
direction to that in which we are going, though they are 
all fixed and immoveable? However our senses may 
deceive us in this respect, our reason is obliged to ac- 
knowledge the truth and wisdom of that system which 
supposes the revolution of the earth. Nature acts al- 
ways by the shortest, easiest, and most simple ways. By 
the motion of the earth round the sun, we can account 
for the different appearances of the planets, their period- 
ical rotations, their being stationary, and their direct and 
retrograde motions. And is it not much more natural 
and easy that the earth should turn round its own axis 
in twenty-four hours, than that the sun, the planets, and 
the whole starry heavens should be carried round the 
earth in that space of time? An incontestable proof 
that the sun is in the centre of the system, and not the 
earth, is, that the motions and distances of the planets 
have respect to the sun, and not to the earth. And 


were we to suppose the contrary, what would become of 
the harmony and perfect conformity which prevail in all 
the works of the Creator ? But according to our hypo- 
thesis, every plant has the same kind of motion which 
we attribute to the earth. 

These reflections on the system of the universe are 
exceedingly proper to fill our minds with the most sub- 
lime ideas of our adorable Creator, and to give us a 
lively sense of our own littleness. With what pleasure 
does our mind pass from one idea to another, till it is 
lost in the contemplation of these sublime objects ! With 
what emotions of astonishment and veneration do we 
perceive the grandeur of our God ! It is true, that an 
exact and perfect knowledge of the system of the world 
cannot be attained by our limited understanding; but 
we know enough of it to be convinced that the whole is 
arranged with infinite wisdom and goodness, and that 
no system can be imagined more beautiful, more worthy 
of the infinite Being, or more advantageous to the inha- 
bitants of the different globes. 



Though lobsters were of no use to us as food, they 
would nevertheless be worthy our attention. The females 
of these crustaceous animals have a few weeks ago un- 
dergone a great change. They have cast off their old 
coverings, and clothed themselves with new shells. This 
may be termed their moulting. In thus changing their 
covering they increase in size, and this mode of growth 
is common to all crustaceous insects ; they increase in 
size as often as they cast off their old coverings, and this 
operation is very painful. At the time they change 
their shell, they change their stomach and intestines 
also ; indeed, they seem to feed upon their former sto- 
mach, which wastes by degrees, so that the animal ap- 
pears to nourish itself with those parts of its body which 
served it before for digestion. The little white round 
stones, improperly called crab's-eyes, begin to be formed 


when the stomach is destroyed, and are afterwards in- 
closed in the new one, where they gradually diminish, 
till at last they wholly disappear. There is reason to 
believe that the animal uses them as a remedy for the 
disorders of its stomach ; or, probably, they are the re- 
ceptacle for the matter which is employed in the forma- 
tion of the new shell. 

Except at the time of casting their shells, these ani- 
mals keep at the bottom of the water, a little distance 
from the shore. In winter they prefer deep water ; but 
they come to the shore in summer, if the want of food 
does not oblige them to go deeper into the sea. That 
they may easily seize their prey, nature has given them 
several arms and legs. Some of their claws are often as 
large as their head and body together. What is most 
remarkable is, that they have the faculty of re-producing 
their claws and horns when they have been bruised or 
broken. They can even rid themselves of them when 
they are inconvenient. They perform this operation in 
any posture ; but they effect it more easily when turned 
on their back ; and the shell is broken with strong iron 
pincers, and the flesh bruised at the third or fourth joint 
of the claw. Immediately after the . wound the animal 
is convulsed ; the pain causes it to shake its limb every 
way ; and shortly the wounded limb falls off from the 
body, and a gelatinous humour oozes out and staunches 
the blood ; when this is taken away the animal bleeds to 
death. This substance envelopes what may be termed 
the bud of the new limb, which appears at first only as 
an excrescence, or small cone. By degrees this cone 
lengthens, assumes the form of a limb, and becomes as 
complete as the old one. 

The manner in which these animals multiply is not 
less extraordinary. The male carries the prolific sub- 
stance in an extremely long thread. What principally 
distinguishes it is a double hook under the tail, which is 
not found in the female. These animals grow pregnant 
about autumn ; if a female be at that time opened, red 
clots may be perceived, which are the evidences of im- 
pregnation. They gradually disappear; and under the 
tail, where the female has many little fibres, a multitude 
of little round eggs may be seen, exactly resembling 


those in the roe of a herring. The first eggs appear in 
December, and are more than a hundred. They grow 
large in proportion to the increasing warmth ; and before 
St. John's-day, we find little living lobsters among the 
eggs about the size of an ant, which continue attached 
to the fibres under the mother's tail, and are there fos- 
tered till all the eggs are hatched. At length they dis- 
engage themselves from these fibres, and then cling to 
those of trees or plants near the shore, and there con- 
tinue till they are strong enough to commit themselves 
to the deep. 

The lobster is certainly one of the most extraordinary 
creatures in the world. An animal whose skin is stone, 
which it casts off every year, to cover itself with new 
armour. An animal whose flesh is in its tail and feet ; 
whose hair is within its breast ; whose stomach is in its 
head, and which is changed every year for a new one ; 
the very first office of which is to digest the old one ! 
An animal which carries its eggs within its body before 
they are impregnated, but as soon as this takes place, 
carries them without under its tail ; and which multiplies 
its kind with a double organ of generation ! An animal 
with two stones in its stomach, which are engendered 
and grow there, and with which it feeds itself till they 
are consumed ! An animal which can cast off its limbs 
at pleasure when they are troublesome, and replace them 
with others! And, lastly, an animal whose eyes are 
placed on long moveable horns ! So singular a creature 
will long remain a mystery to the human mind. It fur- 
nishes us, however, with new motives to acknowledge 
and adore the power and wisdom of the Creator. 



If we examine our bodies with due attention, we 
cannot but observe that all the parts of which it is com- 
posed are so situated as to be most convenient and best 
adapted to their various uses. It belonged to the Creator 


to arrange them as he thought proper, and his wisdom 
has assigned to each member its proper place ; and in 
forming our bodies he has taken care, not only to provide 
for its wants and conveniences, but also for its beauty 
and ornament. 

In the first place, with regard to our wants; it is 
manifest that all the parts of our body are situated in 
the most advantageous manner. Our body is a machine 
which is to move of itself by the powers given it, with- 
out receiving any impulse from any exterior force. It 
is necessary it should speedily and with facility perform 
the will of the mind. All the bones are joined together ; 
but that we might make use of our limbs without diffi- 
culty, stretch out or bend the arm, stoop or erect our- 
selves as we please, the bones are divided into many 
articulations, and each is rounded at the end, and in- 
serted in the spheric cavity of another, where it moves 
with ease, because it is covered with a smooth polished 
cartilage, and moistened with an unctuous humour, 
which smears the cartilages, and prevents the bad effects 
of friction. What is most remarkable in this is, that 
these bones are so firmly set in that they do not slip 
out, nor separate from each other, although the feet be 
obliged to carry so great a burden, and the hands to lift 
sometimes more than one hundred pounds' weight ! 

In the arrangement and disposition of the different 
parts of our body, God has provided also for our conve- 
nience. The volitions and determinations of the soul 
may be executed without obstacle or difficulty by the 
organs of the body. By means of the senses it is 
speedily informed of whatever concerns it, and the dif- 
ferent members of the body directly obey its orders. 
The eye, which must watch over the whole body, is 
situated in the most elevated part; it can turn itself 
easily on all sides, and observe whatever passes. The 
ears are also situated in the highest place, at each side 
of the head ; and stand open day and night, to inform 
the soul of the least noise, and to communicate to it all 
the impressions of sound. As the food must pass through 
the mouth to the stomach, the organ of smelling is placed 
immediately above it, to watch like the eye, that nothing 
corrupted or improper may be received by it. As to the 


sense of feeling, it has not its residence in any particular 
place, but is dispersed over all parts of the body, that all 
may thereby distinguish pleasure from pain, and things 
injurious from things profitable. The arms, which are 
the servants which the soul employs to execute the 
greater part of its desires, are placed near the breast, 
where the body has most strength ; and without being at 
too great a distance from the lower parts, are situated in 
the most convenient manner for all sorts of work and 
exercise, and for the defence of the head and the other 

Finally, the Creator, in the formation of our body, 
has designed also to attend to its beauty. This consists 
in the visible harmony and exact proportion of the mem- 
bers, and in the pleasing mixture of the colours of a fine 
and delicately formed skin. Thus we see that those 
parts of our bodies which are double, as the eyes, ears, 
arms, legs, &c, are placed, one on each side, at an equal 
height, the right exactly answering the left; whereas 
those which are single, as the forehead, nose, the mouth, 
and the chin, are placed in the middle. This proportion 
appears in the great as well as in the small. The length 
of the sole of the foot is the sixth part of the height of 
the whole body, as the length of the face is the tenth, 
and the cubit the fourth part. In children the head is 
larger than it should be, in proportion to the rest ; the 
reason is, that the head being the principal part of the 
body, and the seat of the senses, it should come sooner 
to perfection than the other parts ; and the more so, as 
being entirely composed of bones, it could not extend so 
much as the fleshy members, which it must otherwise 
have done ; for we observe, that in infancy all the mem- 
bers grow at once, and that they extend according to tbe 
most exact proportions in length, in breadth, and in 
thickness ; and thus are in continual harmony with the 
size of the whole body. 

Admire, O man, the perfection and beauty of thy 
body, the connexion and admirable harmony of all its 
parts. Each member is connected with others, yet they 
never embarrass nor impede one another in the perform- 
ance of their different functions. They are situated in 
the most convenient places, that they may the more 


readily accomplish their offices, and lend each other 
mutual assistance. All the organs are so many springs 
in this admirable machine. They correspond to each 
other, and act in concert to fulfil the different purposes 
for which they were designed. Take heed not to destroy 
this curiously contrived machine, nor to deform it by 
irregularity and excess. Do not dishonour it by base 
and shameful passions. Act so that thy body may be 
always a monument of the wisdom and goodness of God. 
But especially take heed that thy soul, which has been 
degraded by sin, be re-established in its primitive beauty 
and holiness by the mercy of thy Redeemer. It is by 
this alone that thou canst be compensated for the change 
thy body must undergo when it shall return to the dust 
out of which it has been formed. 



In contemplating the world, we discover everywhere 
traces of a Supreme Intelligence, who ordained every 
thing, who has foreseen the effects which, should result 
from the energy he has impressed on nature, and who 
has counted, weighed, and measured all, according to his 
own designs', with infinite and unerring wisdom. 

Thus the universe, once formed, may always continue, 
and constantly fulfil its destination, without the necessity 
of changing anything in the primitive laws once esta- 
blished. The contrary is often the case with the works 
of men. The most skilfully constructed machines soon 
cease to answer the intended purpose ; they require con- 
tinual repairs, and are soon worn out and unfit for use. 
The principle of these derangements and irregularities is 
found in their primitive construction ; for there is no 
artist, how eminent soever he may be, who can foresee 
all the changes which his work may undergo, or be able 
to provide against them. 

The corporeal world is also a machine, but its compo- 
nent parts and their uses are innumerable. It is divided 
into many luminous and opaque globes, which serve for 


habitations to an infinite multitude of living creatures of 
all kinds. The opaque globes revolve round the lumi- 
nous ones in their prescribed orbits and limited times, 
and receive from them light and heat, day and night, 
seasons and different degrees of temperature, nourish- 
ment and growth, according to the nature and necessi- 
ties of their different inhabitants. The position of the 
planets, and their mutual gravitation, are so diversified, 
that it seems almost impossible to determine beforehand 
the times in which they will return to the point whence 
they departed, and begin anew their periodical course. 
And notwithstanding the variety of phenomena which 
these globes present to us, and the astonishing multi- 
plicity of their motions, it has never happened, in the 
.course of a thousand years, that these enormous masses 
have ever struck against or interrupted each other in 
their revolutions. All the planets perform their revo- 
lutions in the times prescribed to them. They have 
always preserved their order and their respective dis- 
tances, and have never got nearer to the sun. Their 
respective forces are still exactly balanced, and stand in 
the same relations to each other. The fixed stars are 
the same to-day they were a thousand years ago. The 
distances, projectile forces, right ascensions, declinations, 
parallaxes, and direction of all the heavenly bodies are 
still the same. The sun also is still at the same height ; 
the days and nights, the years and seasons, are just now 
what they were formerly. An incontestable proof, that 
in the first arrangement of the heavenly bodies, in the 
proportion, laws, and relations of their respective forces, 
and in the rapidity of their course, the wise Author of 
nature has foreseen and determined the future state of 
the world, and all its component parts, to the utmost 
duration of time. 

The same may be said of our earth, which is annually 
subject to different revolutions and changes of tempera- 
ture. For although it seems at first sight as if fine 
weather, cold, heat, dew, rain, snow, hail, lightning, 
tempests, and all sorts of winds, varied indifferently, and 
were dispensed by chance ; that it is by mere accident 
that water overflows the land in any particular place, 
altering its surface by changing solid ground into lakes 


and marshes ; that in other places we see continents 
where seas were formerly; that mountains are formed 
while others moulder away ; and that rivers are either 
dried up or turned out of their former heds ; nevertheless 
it is certain, that each modification of our earth has its 
sufficient cause in the preceding modification; this, in 
that which preceded it; and the whole, in that which 
was established at the creation of the world. But 
nothing is better calculated to make us sensible of our 
ignorance of particular natural events, and their con- 
nexion with the future, than that variety which we 
observe in the temperature of the air; a variety which 
has so much influence on the appearance and fertility of 
our globe. In vain we multiply meteorological obser- 
vations, for it is impossible to deduce from them fixed 
rules and consequences for the future ; for we never yet 
have seen one y«ar perfectly similar to another. Yet 
we are well convinced that these continual variations, 
and that apparent confusion of elements, do not essen- 
tially change our globe, alter its figure, destroy its equi- 
librium, nor render it uninhabitable ; but that they are, 
on the contrary, the true means of preserving annual 
order, fertility, and abundance. Since, therefore, every 
present modification is founded on a preceding one, it is 
manifest that the elements have not been formed and 
combined by blind chance, but that from the beginning 
an eternal wisdom has produced, combined, and mea- 
sured the elements, appreciated their powers, and deter- 
mined their effects, till the conclusion of time. 

Thus the whole is not composed of disunited or ill- 
connected materials, or of parts which have neither re- 
lation to or connexion with each other ; it is a regular 
and perfect whole, the structure and arrangement of 
which is the work of a Supreme Intelligence. If we 
behold in the world a multitude of beings which have 
the same nature and destination that we have, and are 
united by a multitude of relations ; if we discover genera 
and species more numerous still of other creatures, which 
are also more pr less mutually connected ; if we allow 
that by the mixture and action of elements all these 
animated beings are supported, and receive all that their 
nature requires; if, afterwards, we carry our thoughts 


further, and consider the relations there are between 
our earth and the heavenly bodies, the constant regu- 
larity of their motions, the conformity, concord, and ad- 
mirable harmony which are found among all these globes 
that are placed within our notice, we shall be more and 
more filled with astonishment at the sight of the mag- 
nificence, order, and beauty of nature ; and more deeply 
convinced of the infinite wisdom of the Creator. But 
all that we know at present of the order and harmony 
of the corporeal world, is but a small ray of that eternal 
light which we hope for ; and in the enjoyment of which 
that divine wisdom, which is now in so many respects 
impenetrable to us, shall be manifested to us with in- 
finite splendour. 



The time is now approaching which excites the dis- 
content of so many people. The severe season of winter 
appears to them to contradict the plan of the Ruler of 
the universe, which in all other respects is so wise and 
beneficent. The rich complain that nature is become 
gloomy and dismal ; and the poor, whose poverty and 
wants increase in this season, groan and murmur. Yet 
let those ungrateful people magnify as they please the 
inconveniences and distresses of winter, they shall be 
obliged to acknowledge, when they compare their lot 
with that of other countries, how great God's goodness 
is toward them in this respect. For in a great part of 
the northern countries there is neither spring nor autumn, 
and the heat is as insufferable in summer as the cold is 
in winter ; the violence of the latter is such that spirits 
of wine freezes in the thermometer. When the door of 
a warmed chamber is opened, the external air which 
enters converts all the vapours within into snow, so that 
the place is filled with thick white vapours. If a person 
go out of the house, he is almost suffocated, and the air 
seems to tear the lungs. All appears in a state of death, 
no person daring to quit his apartments. Sometimes the 


cold becomes so intense, and that suddenly, that if a 
person cannot make a timely escape he is in danger of 
losing an arm, a leg, or even life itself. The fall of the 
snow is still more dangerous ; the wind drives it with so 
much violence that a person cannot possibly find his 
path ; the trees and bushes are covered with it, people's 
eyes blinded, and at every step the traveller is in danger 
of falling into a new precipice. In summer, the day 
lasts for three months ; and during the same space a 
perpetual night reigns in winter. 

What would they say, who complain of the cold in 
our climates, were they obliged to live in the countries 
above described ? It is plain that we do not know our 
own advantages, or a very little reflection would suffice 
to show us how contented we should be with our lot. 
However gloomy or severe our winter days may be, they 
are quite supportable by people in general ; and if there 
be some who cannot bear them, it is chiefly owing to 
their effeminacy and self-indulgence. 

But why has the Creator appointed so many thousands 
of people to dwell in regions where nature fills them 
with terror for a great part of the year ? Why has he 
not made these people as comfortable as we are ? Foolish 
questions! We are mistaken if we suppose that the 
inhabitants of the North Pole are unhappy, through the 
length and severity of their winter. Though poor, yet 
being exempt through their simplicity from all desires 
not easy to be satisfied, these people live contented 
among the icy rocks by which they are encompassed, 
without knowing the blessings which the inhabitants of 
southern climes consider as an essential part of their 
felicity. If the barrenness of their soil prevent their 
fields from bringing forth such a variety of fruits, plants, 
&c, as ours produce, the sea is so much the more boun- 
tiful in its gifts to them. Their mode of life inures 
them to cold, and enables them to defy the tempests; 
and as to particular resources, without which they could 
not support the rigour of the climate, nature provides 
them in abundance. Their deserts are stocked with 
wild beasts, the fur of which protects them against the 
cold. Their reindeer supplies them with food, drink, 
garments, beds, and tents; this supplies most of their 


wants ; and the animal that thus provides for them is 
supported with very little expense. When the sun does 
not rise with them, and they are surrounded with dark- 
ness, nature herself lights a torch for them, and the 
Aurora Borealis illuminates their nights. Possibly these 
people consider their own country as the most extensive 
and happiest in the world, and pity our lot as much as 
we commiserate theirs. 

Thus each climate has its advantages and inconveni- 
ences, which are generally so well balanced, that it is 
difficult to say upon the whole which deserves the pre- 
ference. Considered in this point of view, there is no 
country on the earth, whether the sun dart his rays on 
it in a perpendicular or an oblique direction, or whether 
covered with eternal snow or otherwise, that can be said 
to enjoy more advantages than any other. In one place 
the conveniences of life are more numerous ; in another, 
that variety of blessings is absolutely wanting ; but those 
who have not this variety are subject to fewer tempta- 
tions, carking cares, or bitter remorse ; in a word, they 
are ignorant of a multitude of obstacles to happiness, 
and this doubtless compensates for the want of a number 
of pleasures. We know with certainty, that Providence 
has dealt out to each country what was necessary for the 
support and comfort of its inhabitants. Everything is 
adapted to the nature of the climate, and God provides, 
by the wisest means, for the wants of his creatures. 



The transformations which take place in nature are 
numerous ; or rather, everything is metamorphosed in 
the natural world. The form of objects varies continu- 
ally ; certain bodies pass successively through the animal, 
vegetable, and mineral kingdom ; and there are some 
compound substances which gradually become minerals, 
plants, insects, reptiles; fish, birds, beasts, and. men. 
Millions of bodies are annually turned into dust. Where 


are the flowers which, during the spring and summer, 
adorned our fields, gardens, and meadows ? One species 
appears, withers, and gives place to another. The flowers 
of March, and the modest violet, after having announced 
the approaching spring, have disappeared, that we might 
have room to admire the tulip and the rose. In then- 
places others spring up, till all the flowers have fulfilled 
their design. It is exactly the same with respect to men. 
One generation comes, and another goes. Thousands of 
human hodies return annually to that dust from which 
they were taken ; hut from the redissolved hodies, new 
and more beautiful ones are formed. The salts and oils 
of which they were composed dissolve in the earth ; the 
more subtile parts are elevated in the atmosphere by the 
heat of the sun, are there mingled with other matters, 
and, being variously dispersed by the winds, fall down 
in dew and rain, sometimes on one place, and sometimes 
on another. As to the more gross parts, they unite with 
the earth ; the grass which is nourished by this grows 
into long spires ; thus, the flesh of man becomes grass, 
and feeds the flocks, whose wholesome milk and flesh 
are afterwards converted into our own substance. 

These continual transformations, which take place in 
nature, are a sufficient proof that the Creator has deter- 
mined that nothing shall be lost, and that nothing is 
useless. The dust on flowers, which is employed in the 
fecundation of plants, is but a very small portion of what 
each flower contains ; but what appears superfluous is 
not lost ; the wisdom of God has formed the bees, who 
make use of it for their honey. The earth gives us 
daily new gifts ; and it would be finally exhausted if 
what it gives were not by some means rendered back 
again. All organized bodies become decomposed, and 
are at last converted into earth. During this dissolution 
the volatile parts are raised into the atmosphere, and dis- 
persed everywhere. Thus the remains of animals are 
scattered through the air, as well as through the earth 
and water; and perhaps the parts which rise into the 
atmosphere are by far the least numerous. All those 
particles, dispersed hither and thither, speedily reunite 
in new organic bodies, which, in their turn, shall undergo 
the same transmutations. And this circulation, these 


continual metamorphoses, -which began when the world 
Avas created, shall terminate only when it is destroyed. 

But the most remarkable transformation, or at least 
that in which Ave are most interested, is what concerns 
ourselves. We know that our bodies have not been 
originally, and will not hereafter be, composed of the 
same number of particles as at present. The body which 
Ave had in our mother's Avomb was extremely little ; it 
AA-as larger when Ave came into the world, and since that 
time it has increased to fifteen or twenty times that 
size ; consequently, blood, flesh, and other foreign sub- 
stances, drawn from the animal and vegetable kingdoms, 
which did not belong to our bodies, have been since 
assimilated to them, and become a part of themselves. 
The need we have of daily food proves that there is a 
continual waste of the particles of which our bodies are 
composed, and that this Avaste must be repaired by ali- 
ments. Many particles evaporate imperceptibly ; for it 
appears, by very correct experiments made by an eminent 
physician on himself, that of eight pounds of food which 
are necessary for the support of a healthy man, only one 
fiftieth part is converted into his substance, and all the 
rest is disposed of by perspiration, and other excretions. 
From this it may be inferred, that in ten years few of 
the particles of which Ave are now composed Avill remain. 
And finally, Avhen our bodies shall have gone through 
several changes, they shall be transformed into dust, till, 
at the day of the resurrection, they shall undergo that 
blessed and last revolution, Avhich shall place them in 1m 
unalterable and eternal state. 

Hoav should we rejoice at this future state, Avhere we 
shall be free from all the changes which we experience 
here beloAV ! Let us look with serenity on the daily 
revolutions to which all earthly things are subject, and 
Avhich are necessary in the present state. By acting 
thus, we shall draw nearer to perfection. May we not 
rejoice in hope of this grand revolution ? When the 
earth shall have undergone its last and great change, 
may Ave. be introduced into the neAV heavens and the 
neAv earth, where even the shadoAV of change shall never 
exist ! 





He who delights to contemplate the works of God, 
will not only discover his hand in those immense glohcs 
which compose the system of the universe, but also in 
the little worlds of insects, plants, and metals. He will 
search for and adore the wisdom of God as well in the 
spiders web, as in that power of gravitation which at- 
tracts the earth towards the sun. These researches are 
at present the easier, as microscopes have discovered to 
us new scenes and new worlds, in which we behold, in 
miniature, whatever may excite our admiration. They 
who have not the opportunity of using these machines 
will read, at least with pleasure, the following remarks 
on microscopic objects. 

Let us, in the first place, observe the inanimate world. 
Behold those mosses and little plants which God has 
produced in such great abundance. Of what extremely 
small particles and fine threads are these plants com- 
posed ! What a variety in their forms and shapes ! Who 
can enumerate all their genera, and all their species ? 
Think on the innumerable multitude of small particles 
of which every body is composed, and which may be 
detached from it. If a hexagon of an inch square con- 
tain a hundred millions of visible parts, who can calcu- 
late all the particles which compose a mountain! If 
millions of globules of water may be suspended from the 
point of a needle, how many must there be in a spring, 
in a well, in a river, in the sea ! If from a lighted candle 
there issue in a second more particles of light than there 
are grains of sand on the whole earth, how many igneous 
particles must there issue from a large fire in an hour ! 
If one grain of sand contain more than a thousand mil- 
lions of particles of air, how many must there be in the 
human body ! If men can divide one grain of copper 
into millions of parts, wi thout arriving at the first ele- 
ments of matter ; if odoriferous bodies can exhale a suf- 
ficiency of odorous particles, so as to be perceived at a 


great distance, without any sensible diminution of weight 
in those bodies, it would require an eternity for the 
human mind to calculate the number of these particles ! 
If we pass next to the animal kingdom, the scene 
will be infinitely extended. In summer the air swarms 
with living creatures. Each drop of water is a little 
world full of inhabitants. Every leaf is a colony of in- 
sects. Every grain of sand is the habitation of a mul- 
titude of animated beings. Every plant, seed, and flower 
nourishes millions of creatures. Every person has seen 
those innumerable swarms of flies, gnats, and other in- 
sects which gather together in a small space ; what pro- 
digious hosts must there be of them that live, sport, and 
multiply their kind over the face of the whole earth, and 
•in the immense extent of the atmosphere ! How many 
millions of still smaller insects and worms are there 
which crawl on the earth, or in the entrails of animals, 
the number of which is only known to God ! With what 
splendour does the power of God manifest itself to the 
mind, when we reflect on the multitude of parts of which 
these creatures are composed, of whose very existence 
most men are ignorant! Were we not convinced of it 
by daily experience, could we imagine there were ani- 
mals a million of times less than a grain of sand, with 
organs of nutrition, motion, generation, &c. ? There are 
shell-fish so small, that even viewed through the micro- 
scope, they appear scarcely so large as a grain of barley ; 
and yet they are real animals, with durable dwelling- 
places, the foldings and recesses of which form so many 
different apartments ! How exceedingly small is a mite ! 
Nevertheless, this almost imperceptible point, seen through 
a microscope, is a hairy animal, perfect in all its mem- 
bers, of a regular figure, full of life and sensibility, and 
provided with every necessary organ. Although this 
animal is scarcely visible to us, yet it has a multitude of 
still smaller parts ; and what is yet more admirable is, 
that the glasses which show us so many faults and im- 
perfections in the most finished works of men, can dis- 
cern nothing but regularity and perfection in these 
microscopic objects. How inconceivably fine and slen- 
der are the threads of a spider ! It has been calculated, 
that it would take 36 000 of them to make the thickness 

b 2 


of a thread of common sewing silk ! Each of the six 
papillffi, from which the spider draws that glutinous 
liquor of which it forms its web, is composed of a thou- 
sand insensible pores, which give passage to so many 
threads; so that however fine the spiders thread may 
appear, it is composed of 6,000 smaller ones ! 

You are struck with astonishment. But suppose we 
had microscopes which would magnify some thousands 
of times more than those glasses do, through which a 
mite appears no larger than a grain of barley, what won- 
ders should we then see ! And even then, should we 
reach the limits of the creation in these inconceivably 
small productions ? Certainly not : and it would be pre- 
sumption and extravagance to believe it. Each creature 
has a kind of infinity ; and the more we contemplate 
the works of God, the more the wonders of his power 
shall be multiplied in our sight. 

Our imagination is confounded in the two extremes 
of nature, the great and the small ; and we know not 
whether we should admire the Divine power more in 
those enormous masses, those immense globes which roll 
above our heads, or in those microscopic animals which 
are invisible to the naked eye. Should not the con- 
templation of the works of God be our most pleasing 
occupation ? The trouble of study would be amply com- 
pensated by the pure and innocent pleasures which it 
would afford. It would, at least, awaken in us an ardent 
desire to arrive in those blessed regions where we should 
require neither microscopes nor telescopes to enable us to 
discover the wondrous works of God. There, all his 
works shall be so unveiled to our eyes, that we shall be 
able to distinguish the destination, structure, and rela- 
tions of each object. There, immortal songs of praise 
shall resound the honour of the Creator of the universe. 
There, all distinction of great and small shall be entirely 
done away, for everything shall appear great in our sight, 
and fill our souls with admiration and joy ! 



We daily perceive that the cold gradually increases. 
In the last month we lost part of the warmth of autumn : 
but the cold was then very moderate ; for the earth was 
still in a measure warmed by the rays of the sun. The 
present month is still colder, and the shorter the days 
grow, the more the earth loses its warmth ; and the cold 
consequently increases. We cannot doubt this : daily 
experience proves it. But do we sufficiently consider the 
-wisdom and goodness of the Creator, which are manifest 
in this arrangement ? It certainly requires but a small 
degree of attention to discover this wisdom and goodness 
in the insensible progress of the cold. 

In the first place, this gradual increase is indispensably 
necessary, to prevent a derangement in, if not a total de- 
struction of, our bodies. If the cold which we feel in 
the winter months were to come suddenly in the begin- 
ning of autumn, we should be instantly benumbed, and 
this change would speedily become mortal. How readily 
do we catch cold in the cool summer evenings ! And 
how would it be were we to pass suddenly from the 
burning heats of summer to the freezing cold of winter \ 
With how much goodness has the Creator provided for 
our health and life, in granting us such a temperature in 
the months which immediately follow the summer, as 
sufficiently prepares our bodies to endure the increase of 
the cold without injury ! 

What would become of the animals whose delicate 
constitution could not endure the cold, if the winter came 
on suddenly, and without being previously announced ? 
Two-thirds of fowls and insects would perish irrecover- 
ably in a single night ; and their eggs and young with 
them. But as the cold augments by degrees, they have 
time to make the necessary peparations for their preser- 
vation. The autumnal months, which separate the sum- 
mer from the winter, warn them to leave their present 
dwellings to go into warmer climates, or seek places 


where they may quietly and securely rest during the 
severe season. 

It would not be less fatal to our fields and gardens 
were the earth to be suddenly deprived of the heat of 
summer; all the plants, and particularly the exotics, 
would instantly perish ; and the spring could. produce no 
flowers, and the summer no fruits. 

It is therefore just that in this arrangement we should 
acknowledge and adore the wisdom and goodness of God. 
Let us not consider it as a matter of little importance 
that the heat diminishes insensibly, and the cold gradu- 
ally increases, from the end of summer to the beginning 
of winter. These insensible revolutions were necessary, 
that we, and millions of other creatures, might be able to 
subsist ; and that the earth might be able to bring forth 
fruit. If -the presumptuous man, who so often dares to 
find fault with the laws of nature, could displace one 
single wheel in the great machine, he would soon find, 
to his cost, that instead of mending, he had marred the 
whole. Let us understand that nothing is suddenly pro- 
duced ; and that no change takes place till it is suffi- 
ciently matured. All natural events succeed each other 
gradually, all proceed in the most regular order, and 
happen precisely at the specified time. Order is the 
great law which God follows in the government of the 
world ; and hence it is, that all his works are beautiful, 
regular, and perfect. 

Let it be our constant occupation to study the beauty 
and perfection of God's works, and we shall acknow- 
ledge the traces of the Divine wisdom and goodness in 
every season of the year. Then all those foolish com- 
plaints shall cease, by which we have so often insulted 
our Creator ; we shall find order, wisdom, and goodness 
even in those things where we thought we could discover 
nothing but disorder and imperfection ; and we shall ex- 
claim at last, with the deepest conviction : All the ways 
of the Lord are goodness and truth ; his conduct towards 
us is mercy and'kindness ; but this is evident only to 
those who love his covenant, and keep his precepts. 



During winter, the dullest season of the year, the 
earth is often covered with snow. Every person sees it 
fall, but few take the trouble to examine its nature, or 
inquire into its use. 

This is the general lot of those objects which we have 
commonly before our eyes, and from which we derive 
various advantages. Often the things which deserve our 
attention most, are those which we generally neglect. 
Let us be wiser in future ; and begin by reflecting a few 
moments on snow. 

It is formed of very light vapours, which being con- 
gealed in the atmosphere, fall down afterwards in flakes 
of different dimensions. In our climates these flakes are 
often very large ; but we are assured that in Lapland 
the snow is very small, and resembles fine dry dust. 
This is doubtless occasioned by the great cold of that 
country. It is observed, that among us the flakes are 
large in proportion to the degree of cold ; and that they 
become very small when it freezes intensely. The little 
flakes generally resemble hexagonal stars ; but some have 
eight angles, others ten, and some are altogether irre- 
gular. The best way of examining them is to receive 
them on white paper ; but hitherto little has been said 
satisfactory on the cause of these different forms. The 
whiteness of this meteor may be easily accounted for. 
Snow is extremely thin and light ; consequently it has a 
great multitude of pores which are filled with air : it is 
besides composed of parts more or less close and com- 
pact i such a substance does not permit the rays of the 
sun to pass through, nor does it absorb them ; on the 
contrary, it reflects them with considerable force, and this 
is what makes it to appear white to- us. 

Snow as it falls is twenty-four times lighter than 
water. This is proved by melting twenty-four measures 
of snow, for they produce but one of water. For snow 
is not frozen water, but only frozen vapour. Snow eva- 


porates considerably ; and the greatest cold does not 
impede this evaporation. It has been doubted whether 
it snows at sea; but those who have performed voyages 
in the winter on the northern seas, have assured us that 
they have there met with much snow. It is well known, 
that the tops of high mountains are generally covered 
with snow ; if a part of it melts, it is speedily replaced 
by new flakes. As the air is much warmer on the plains 
than it is on the mountain-tops, it may rain on the for- 
mer, while it snows heavily on the latter. 

Snow has a variety of uses. As the cold of winter is 
more injurious to the vegetable kingdom than it is to the 
animal, plants must perish, were they not protected by 
some covering. God has so ordered it that the rain 
which in the summer fell to cool and nourish the plants, 
should fall in winter under the form of soft wool, which 
covers the vegetables, and protects them from the rigours 
of the frost, and the chilling blasts of wind. Snow has 
a certain degree of warmth, but so temperate as not to 
stifle tbe grain. And, as it contains, like all other va- 
pours, different salts, which it drops when thawed, it 
contributes much to the fertilization of the earth. When, 
therefore, the snow melts, it becomes a fruitful moisture 
to the earth ; and at the same time, washes away from 
winter seeds and plants whatever might prevent or injure 
their growth. What remains of this snow-water, helps 
to supply springs and rivers, which were diminished 
during the winter. 

These reflections may be sufficient to convince us of 
the goodness of God, which is manifest in the meteor of 
which we have spoken. We see plainly that winter has 
its advantages, and that it is not such a gloomy season 
as many imagine. Let us raise our hearts in gratitude 
and joy to that beneficent God, who even from snow 
and clouds pours down blessings and abundance upon 
the earth. Our complaints and murmurs are insulting 
to the divine government ; and they are the more cri- 
minal, because we may in every occurrence behold the 
footsteps of the wisdom and goodness of God. 



Nature seems dead at present, because it is deprived 
of so many creatures which in summer rendered it so 
beautiful and lively. Most of the animals which have 
disappeared, are buried during the winter in a profound 
sleep. This happens not only to caterpillars, but also to 
may-bugs, ants, flies, spiders, snails, frogs, lizards, and 
serpents. It is an error to suppose that the ants lay up 
provisions for winter ; the least cold benumbs them, and 
"they continue in this state till spring. Of what use then 
would magazines of provision be, seeing nature has pre- 
vented their need of food in winter ? Nor does it ap- 
pear that they collect stores for other animals. What 
they collect during the summer with so much care, serves 
not for their subsistence ; they employ it only as mate- 
rials for building their habitations. 

There are also several birds which, when food begins 
to fail, hide themselves in the earth, or in caves, to sleep 
out the winter. We are assured, at least, that before 
winter sets in, the strand-swallows hide themselves in 
the earth ; the wall-swallows hide themselves in holes of 
trees and old buildings; and the house or common 
swallows seek for ponds, where they fasten themselves in 
pairs, and cling to roots or reeds, and continue without 
motion, and apparently without life, till the return of 
spring re -animates them. 

There are some beasts also which bury themselves in 
the earth towards the end of summer. The most" re- 
markable of these is the mountain-rat, which generally 
lives on the Alps. Though it delights in the highest 
mountains, in the regions of frost and snow, it is, never- 
theless, more subject than any other animal to be be- 
numbed with the cold. Hence it is, that these animals 
hide themselves about the end of September, or begin- 
ning of October, in subterraneous dwellings, in which 
they remain till April. There is much art and precau- 
tion in their winter residence. It is a sort of gallery, 



the two wings of which have a particular opening ; and 
both terminate in a place where there is no other open- 
ing; and this is their habitation. One of these two 
branches goes sloping down from the place where they 
lodge ; here they deposit their excrements, the moisture 
of which readily runs off. The other branch is more 
lofty, and serves them to go in and come out by. The 
place where they dwell is lined with hay and moss. 
This animal lays up no provision for winter, as it would 
be useless. Before they enter into their winter quarters 
each prepares a bed of moss and hay with great care ; 
and when they have formed the two openings of their 
dwelling, they compose themselves to sleep. As long as 
their torpid state «ndures, they taste nothing. At the 
commencement of winter they are so very fat, that some 
of them, weigh not less than twenty pounds ; but they 
fall away by degrees, and are very lean in the spring. 

As they eat nothing during the winter, they have no 
evacuations, their ccecum, or first great gut, is furnished 
with annular valves, which retain the excrement till the 
time of their waking. We are informed, that as soon 
as these animals feel the first approach of the cold, they 
go to some spring, where they drink so long and so plen- 
tifully, that the water which they make comes from them 
as pure and clear as it was when they swallowed it. A 
natural instinct leads them to this, to prevent the cor- 
ruption which matters accumulated in their stomach 
might occasion, during their long state of torpidity. 
"When these animals are discovered in their retreats, they 
are found rolled up in a lump, enveloped with hay ; their 
nose laid in their belly, that they may not perspire too 
much of their moisture ; their lymph wastes fast enough ; 
and it was highly necessary to have attenuated their 
blood by the quantity of water which they drank. During 
their torpid state they may be carried away without 
awaking them ; and they may be even killed without 
appearing to feel it. There is another species of rats, 
whose sleep is as long and profound as that of the moun- 
tain-rat, and which are therefore termed the seven-sleep- 
ers. Bears eat prodigiously at the beginning of winter ; 
and they seem to eat as if they intended to devour as 
much at once as would be sufficient for their whole lives. 


As they are naturally fat, and are excessively so at the 
end of autumn, this abundance of fat enables them to 
endure their abstinence during the winter. Badgers 
prepare themselves in the same manner for their winter's 

The instinct of these and other animals teaches them 
how to preserve themselves without nourishment during 
so long a time. From their first winter, even before 
they could have learnt anything by experience, they 
foresee their long sleep, and provide against it. In their 
peaceable retreat, they neither feel want, hunger, nor 
cold. They know no other season than that of summer, 
and what is still more remarkable is, that all animals do 
not sleep thus during winter ; it is only those which with 
-the severe cold can also endure an abstinence of several 
months. If the winter came upon them unawares, so 
that, though enfeebled with hunger, and benumbed with 
cold, they still continued to live, it might be said that 
there was nothing surprising in this but the strength of 
their constitution. But as they know how to prepare 
themselves beforehand for the time of their sleep, and as 
the most of them do this with much care and precaution, 
we are obliged to attribute the whole to an admirable 
instinct, with which the Creator has endued them. Yes, 
the wisdom and goodness of God have provided for the 
wants of all his creatures ; and this he can do by a thou- 
sand different ways, which the human understanding 
cannot conceive. May we not conclude from this, that 
as he thus watches over all the works of his hands, he 
will not disdain to watch even for our preservation and 
comfort ? 



Perhaps there are several who in this stormy season 
reckon winds and tempests among the disorders and 
scourges of nature. They do not consider the benefits 
which result from them, as without them we should be 
a thousand times more unhappy than we really are. 


Nothing can be truer than this : tempests are the proper 
means of purifying the atmosphere ; to be convinced of 
which, we have only to pay attention to the general state 
of the weather at this season. What thick and un- 
wholesome mists, what rainy, gloomy, and cloudy days 
have we at present ! Storms are chiefly designed to 
disperse these noxious vapours, and remove them from 
us ; and this is doubtless a great benefit which we derive 
from them. The universe is governed by the same laws 
as man, who is not improperly called a little world. Our 
health consists in a great measure in the agitation and 
mixing of the various humours, which, without this, 
would soon grow corrupt. The case is the same with 
respect to the world ; that the- air may not become in- 
jurious either to the earth or to animal life, it is necessary 
that it should be continually agitated, and this the winds 
effect. I do not mean gentle, light winds, but storms 
and tempests, which collect vapours from different coun- 
tries, and forming one mass of the whole, mix the good 
and bad together, and thus correct the one by the other. 

Storms are also useful to the sea. Were it not vio- 
lently agitated, the stagnation, even of salt water, would 
produce a degree of putrefaction, which would not only 
become mortal to the innumerable shoals of fish which 
live in it, but would also be very injurious to those who 
sail on it. Motion is the soul of universal nature ; it 
preserves everything in order, and prevents destruction. 
Were the sea itself excepted from the general rule, as it 
is the common receptacle of all the dregs of the earth, 
where so many millions of animal and vegetable sub- 
stances putrefy; were it not continually agitated, its 
waters would putrefy, and infect everything with their 
insupportable stench. Motion is as necessary to the sea 
as the circulation is to the blood of animals ; and the 
other causes, which give it a gentle, uniform, and almost 
insensible motion, are not sufficient to purify the whole 
mass. Nothing but storms can produce this effect : and 
we see what great advantages result from this, not only 
to men, but also to many millions of other animals. 

These are some of the uses of storms, and the reasons 
which ought to prevent us from considering them as de- 
structive scourges and instruments of the divine ven- 


geance. It is true that storms have often destroyed 
vessels richly laden, destroyed the hopes of the husband- 
man and the gardener, laid whole provinces waste, and 
spread terror, desolation, and horror everywhere. But 
what is there in nature which has not its inconveniences, 
and which may not become in certain respects noxious ? 
Shall we reckon the sun in the list of the scourges of 
our globe, because, from his situation, the earth is for 
some months barren, and at other times his heat scorches 
and dries up our fields ? Those phenomena of nature 
should only appear formidable to us, where the advan- 
tages are little or nothing in comparison of their atten^ 
dant evils. But can this be said of storms, if we consider 
the benefits which result from them to the earth, to 
men, and to beasts ? Let us therefore acknowledge, that 
God has planned all in wisdom, and that we should be 
satisfied with the present constitution of things. Happy 
they who are convinced that everything in the universe 
tends to the general good of the creatures, that the evil 
which may be found in the world is compensated by 
numerous advantages ; and that the means even which 
Providence makes use of to prove and chasten us, are in 
themselves indispensable benefits, the general effects of 
which abundantly compensate for the partial evil which 
in some particular cases may result from them. 



Properly speaking, chance can produce nothing, for 
nothing can happen but what has its real and deter- 
minate cause. What we call chance, then, is no more 
than the unexpected concurrence of several causes, which 
produce an unforeseen effect. Experience teaches us 
that these kinds of causes are frequent in human life ; 
unforeseen accidents may entirely change the fortune of 
men, and blast all their designs. Naturally speaking, it 
seems as if the race should be to the swift, the battle to 
the strong, and success to the most wise and prudent ; 
but this is not always the case ; and often an unexpected 


accident, a favourable circumstance, and an event which 
it was impossible to foresee, are more effectual than all 
that human power, wisdom, and prudence* can perform. 
How many would be to be pitied, if a wise and benefi- 
cent hand did not regulate every event !~ And how could 
God govern men, if what is called chance were not 
obedient to his voice ? The lot of individuals, of families, 
even of whole kingdoms, depends often on circumstances, 
which may appear to us little and despicable. Were we 
to deny that Providence governs these small events, we 
must at the same time deny that it has any influence in 
the greatest revolutions which happen in the world. 

We see that accidents daily take place on which our 
temporal happiness or misery in a great measure depends. 
It is evident that we cannot guard against this sort of 
accidents, because we cannot foresee them. But it 
follows thence, that these unexpected events, which are 
above our understanding, are nevertheless subject to the 
empire of Providence. The wisdom and goodness of 
God leave us, more or less, to ourselves ; according to 
the degrees of strength and understanding we have to 
conduct ourselves rationally. But in those circumstances, 
where our strength and prudence can perform nothing, 
we may rest assured that God will more particularly 
watch over us for good. In all other cases, human labour 
and industry must concur with the aid and protection of 
heaven ; for it is only in those unforeseen accidents that 
Providence acts alone. And as in all that is termed 
chance we see evident footsteps of the wisdom, goodness, 
and justice of God, it is manifest that chance itself is 
subject to the divine government; and it is then that 
the empire of Providence appears with most splendour. 
When the beauty, order, and arrangement of the world 
fill us with admiration, we conclude, without hesitation, 
that an infinitely wise Being must preside over it. With 
how much greater reason should we draw the same con- 
clusion, when we reflect on those great events, produced 
by accidents, which the human mind could not foresee ! 
Have we not a thousand examples that the happiness, 
and even the life of men, the fate of nations, the issue 
of a war, the revolutions of empires, and other similar 
affairs, depend on accidents, absolutely unforeseen ? An 


unexpected event may confound projects concerted with 
the utmost secrecy and address, and annihilate the most 
formidable power. It is on the well-grounded belief of 
a Providence, that our faith, tranquillity, and hope must 
rest. Whatever the evils may be which surround us, 
however great the dangers by which we are threatened, 
God can deliver us by a thousand means, entirely un- 
known to ourselves. The lively persuasion of this con- 
solatory truth ought, on the one hand, to fill us with 
profound respect for the Governor of the world ; and on 
the other, engage us to seek God in all things, to raise 
our hearts always to him, and to .put our whole trust and 
confidence in him. This truth ought likewise to curb 
our pride, and inspire, particularly, the great men of the 
'earth, with that religious fear which they should have 
for the Supreme Being, who holds in his hands a thou- 
sand means unknown to us, by which he can overturn 
the fabric of happiness which we have so arrogantly 
erected. Lastly, this same truth is better calculated than 
anything else to banish from our souls all distrust, anxiety, 
and discouragement, and to fill us with holy joy. " The 
infinitely wise Being has a thousand ways unknown to 
us ; but they are ways of mercy and love, and all his 
dispensations are regulated by wisdom and justice. He 
wills the happiness of his creatures, and nothing can 
oppose his will. He commands, and universal nature is 
obedient to his voice." 



Nothing is more difficult than to endeavour to form 
such ideas of God as are in any degree worthy of his 
greatness and majesty. It is as impossible for us to 
comprehend him perfectly, as it would be to hold the sea 
in the hollow of our hand, and compass the heavens 
with a span, Of God it may be justly said, He is both 
well known to and concealed from us. He is very nigh, 
and yet infinitely beyond us. Well known and very 
nigh in respect to his being, and infinitely distant and 


hidden in respect to his nature, perfections, and purposes. 
But on this very account it is our duty to endeavour to 
know his greatness, as it is necessary that we should form 
those sentiments of veneration for him which are his due. 
To assist our weakness in this respect, let us compare 
him with what men esteem and admire most, and we 
shall see that God is infinitely above all. 

We admire the power of kings, and we are filled with 
astonishment when we find they have conquered vast 
empires, taken cities and fortresses, erected superb build- 
ings, and have been the means of the happiness or misery 
of whole nations. But if we are struck with the power 
of a man, who is but dust and ashes, the greater part of 
whose exploits is due to other agents, how should we 
admire the power of God, who has founded the earth 
and formed the heavens ; who holds the sun in his hand, 
and upholds the immense fabric of the universe by the 
word of his power ! We are with reason astonished at 
the heat of the sun, the impetuosity of the winds, the 
roaring of the sea, the peals of thunder, and the incon- 
ceivable rapidity of the lightning; but it is God who 
lights up the solar fire, who thunders in the clouds, 
makes the winds his messengers, the flames of fire his 
ministers, and who raises and calms the waves of the 

We justly respect those who have distinguished them- 
selves by the extent of their genius and their knowledge ; 
but what is knowledge, what the whole human under- 
standing, in comparison of the wisdom of that august 
Being, before whom all is uncovered and all known; 
who counts the stars of heaven, numbers the sands of 
the sea, knows the path of every drop that falls from the 
atmosphere, and who, with one look, beholds the past, 
the present, and the future in the same moment ! How 
much wisdom shines in the construction of the universe, 
in the revolutions of the planets, in the arrangement of 
our globe, in the meanest worm, and in the smallest 
flower ! They are so many masterpieces, which infinitely 
surpass the most magnificent and most perfect work of 

We are dazzled with the splendour of riches; we 
admire the palaces of kings, the magnificence of their 


furniture, the pomp of their clothing, the heauty of their 
apartments, and the abundance of gold, silrer, and pre- 
cious stones which shine on every side ; but how little 
is this, compared with the riches of the Lord our God, 
whose throne is the heavens, and whose footstool is the 
earth ! The heavens are his, and the earth also ; the 
habitable world, and all that dwell therein. He has 
fitted up dwellings for all creatures, he has established 
stores for all men and all animals; he causes grass to 
grow for cattle, and corn for the service of man. All 
that is useful and excellent in the world is drawn from 
his* treasures. Life, health, riches, glory, happiness, 
everything that can constitute the good of his creatures ; 
all are in his hand, and he distributes them according to 
his good pleasure. 

We respect the great men of the earth, when they 
command a multitude of subjects, and reign over many 
countries ; but what is that spot which is subject to 
them, in comparison of the empire of the universe, of 
which our globe is but a small province, which extends 
over all the heavenly bodies and their inhabitants ! How 
great must that Master be who has all the monarchs of 
the universe for his servants, and who beholds around his 
throne the cherubim and seraphim ever ready to fly to 
execute his orders ! 

We judge of the greatness of men by their actions ; 
we celebrate kings who have built cities and palaces, 
who have governed their estates well, and who have 
successfully accomplished great designs. But how asto- 
nishing are the works of the Most High ! How won- 
derful the creation of this immense universe ; the pre- 
servation of so many creatures ; the wise and equitable 
government of innumerable worlds ; the redemption of 
the human race ; the punishment of the wicked, and the 
recompence of the good ! 

Who is like unto thee, O Lord ? Thou art great, thy 
name is great, and thy works proclaim thy grandeur ! 
Nothing can be imagined equal to the greatness of our 
God. Should not a religious reverence ever possess our 
souls at the thought of the presence of the Ruler of the 
world, the Lord, who encompasses all our paths? The 
brightness of the stars is absorbed by the presence of the 



sun ; thus all the glory, all the knowledge, all the power, 
and all the riches of the world vanish, when compared 
with the glory and majesty of God. The soul exults 
and is ennobled in meditating on the greatness of the 
Most High. Such sublime meditations delightfully 
exercise all our spiritual faculties; we are filled with 
reverence, admiration, and joy; when, in a holy trans- 
port, we represent to our minds the Being of beings, the 
Eternal, the Almighty, the Infinite ! Can we help ex- 
claiming with ecstasy, The Lord, he is God ! the Lord, 
he is God ! Give glory to Him for ever and ever ! 



Let sweet contentment take possession of our souls. 
God is good; mercy and love shine through all his 
works. Let us contemplate his mighty deeds ; the world 
and all it contains proclaim him ; all that he has formed 
is worthy of him alone. 

The heavens and the earth are proofs of his power; 
the sun who rules the day, and the moon who rules the 
night ; all that is endued with motion and life exalt the 
mighty God. 

Consider the works of his hands ; man and brute show 
that his power is infinite ; even the smallest objects, the 
spire of grass and the grain of dust, teach the knowledge 
of the Lord. 

Ask the mountains and the vallies; the heights of 
heaven and the depths of the ocean ; the winds and the 
tempests ; the despicable worm that crawls in the dust ; 
and they will all proclaim his wisdom infinite, and his 
power unbounded. 

How shall we exalt him ? With what songs of praise 
shall we celebrate that God who has given us life and 
being ? Our bodies, and the souls which animate them, 
are presents from his hand; may we magnify him as 
long as we have a being ! 

Objects of his faithful care throughout the day, each 
morning witnesses that he has watched over us during 


the darkness of the night. No moment passes without 
furnishing us with motives to bless him who is the light 
and strength of our life. 

If we he a prey to adversity, and oppressed by suffer- 
ings, scarcely do we feel the weight of them, till the 
Divine power comes in to enable us to support them. 
His victorious strength comes to our succour, and our 
difficulties are surmounted. 

O my soul, thou hast long experienced this; let it 
never be forgotten ; never give way to the fear that thou 
shalt be abandoned by that God who cannot hate any 
thing he has made. 

Let us submit to his holy will, and bless him for all 
his dispensations, persuaded that he will accomplish his 
merciful designs ; for he is great in counsel, and abundant 
in means. 


Almighty God, thou art the common Father of all 
the generations which dwell on the earth ; thou art my 
Father also. May I feel myself absolutely dependant 
on thee, not only in respect to my existence, but also for 
everything I possess. I bless thee, I give thee thanks 
for the life which thou hast granted me, and for all the 
mercies which thou hast heaped upon me from the be- 
ginning until now. 

I bless thy kind providence for my tender family rela- 
tions, and for all the comforts and benefits which I have 
enjoyed in domestic life. 

I bless thee for the life and health I enjoy, and for 
the abundant means which thou hast provided to feed, 
clothe, and furnish me with a convenient habitation. 
Thou, Lord, hast provided for all my necessities. 

I give thee thanks for the success with which my just 
enterprises and the labours of my calling have been 
crowned; for all the blessings which thy liberal hand 
has daily conferred on me ; and for everything which 
has in any way or measure contributed to my preser- 
vation and temporal happiness. 

I should also bless thee, that when thou didst permit 


adversity and affliction to approach my dwelling, thou 
didst not then leave me without comfort and support. 
In the midst of my trials, and the just chastisements 
which thou hast sometimes inflicted on me, thou hast 
not abandoned me. Thou hast softened and moderated 
the corrections which I deserved ; and thou hast conde- 
scended again to restore me to thy favour. Thy fatherly 
hand has guided me, and thou hast rejoiced over me to 
do me good. 

Should not the constant experience which I have had 
of thy goodness fill me with perfect confidence, and en- 
courage me to trust my soul, body, and interests in thy 
hands ? May I not hope that thou wilt continue to 
watch over me ; and that, as far as thou judgest it con- 
sistent with my real happiness, thou wilt preserve me 
from those ills and distressing accidents which might 
disturb my repose ? May I enjoy, with a wise and 
grateful heart, the mercies thou grantest me; that in 
prosperity I may ever aspire after thee, who art the 
Author of all good ! But if thou hast determined, in 
the impenetrable councils of thy wisdom, that I should 
pass through various ills, afflictions, and disappointments, 
may I submit with perfect resignation to the wise dis- 
pensations of thy providence, and glorify thee to the 
utmost of my power, in adversity as well as in pros- 
perity ! 

To thee, Lord our God, to thee, who art the Father 
of all thy intelligent creatures, in heaven and in earth, 
to thee be honour and glory, now and for ever ! 



Well may our souls be astonished and filled with 
admiration, when we reflect on the unmerited mercies 
which we have received from the hands of the Lord our 
God ! Laden with his mercies, filled with transport, 
how can we sufficiently express our gratitude and joy ! 

While we were yet asleep, concealed in our mother's 
womb, thou didst then fix our lot ; thou hast regulated 


the condition of mortals before their eyes saw the light 
of the day ; and mine was (O blessed lot ! ) to be born 
in a Christian land. 

Full of compassion for our weakness, thou didst incline 
thine ear to our infant cries; our lips stammered thy 
praises ; and thou didst condescend to hear what could 
not as yet be termed prayer. 

When, in the giddiness of youth, we wandered far 
from the paths of virtue, thy merciful goodness conde- 
scended to recall us to a sense of our duty. 

Thou hast been our shield and fortress in danger and 
distress; and thou hast often preserved us from the 
snares of vice, more to be dreaded than the worst tem- 
poral calamities. 

.When, threatened with death, a mortal paleness was 
diffused over our face, thou didst rekindle the almost 
extinguished lamp of life ; and when the remembrance 
of our transgressions tormented our souls, thy grace 
afforded us comfort. 

Blessed art thou who hast loved us so well, who hast 
given us the sweet consolations of friendship. But what 
is that greatest of all benefits which the heart can con- 
ceive ; for which this heart, entirely consecrated to thee, 
desires to exalt thee, the greatest good which can be 
possibly enjoyed on earth ? — Is it not, my God, to be 
permitted to approach thee, to celebrate thy mercy, and 
to glorify the name of the Almighty ? 

In my fears, in my distresses, in dangers and wretch- 
edness, I will confide in thy mercy alone. When my 
soul is strengthened by thee, even death itself shall lose 
its terrors. 

When the heavens shall pass away with a mighty 
noise, when the fabric of the universe shall be dissolved, 
I shall triumph above its ruins, and bless the powerful 
hand that has raised me above the wreck of a crushed 
world. O thou Most High, eternity is too short to utter 
all thy praise ! 

Note. — There is a great similarity between the above hymn 
(which makes fourteen verses in the German), and the celebrated 
hymn of Mr. Addison, which begins with, " When all thy mercies, 
O my God," &c. Has not the Geiman borrowed from the English 



There can be nothing effected to good purpose, in 
practical astronomy or geography, without an accurate 
knowledge of the position of the meridian line. A 
plumb-line and the axis are two lines intersecting each 
other in the centre of the sphere; one of them meets 
the heavens in zenith and nadir, the other in the poles ; 
a plane passing through these two lines cuts the surface 
of the sphere in a circle, which is the meridian ; the 
meridian, therefore, is a great circle passing through the 
two poles, the zenith and nadir. And since the plumb- 
line is at right angles to the plane of the horizon, and 
the axis to that of the equinoctial, the meridian will be 
at right angles both to the horizon and equinoctial, and 
therefore also perpendicular to all the parallels of decli- 

When the sun or any star rises on the eastern verge of 
the horizon, by reason of its diurnal motion it ascends 
in the heavens, till it has reached the midway of that 
part of its parallel of declination which is above the 
horizon, called the diurnal arc; after that it descends 
through the western half of the same arc. This highest 
point of the object is in the meridian of the place, which 
may be thus explained. The centre of the equinoctial 
and of all the parallels of declination are in the axis of 
the sphere, and therefore in the lines which are the 
common sections of the planes of the parallels with the 
plane of the meridian ; and these lines are perpendicular 
to the common section of the planes of the horizon and 
parallels, and therefore meet the heavens in the highest 
and lowest points of the parallels which are cut by the 
horizon, and equally divide both the upper and lower 
parts; these lines likewise meet those parallels which 
are not intersected by the plane of the horizon in their 
highest and lowest points ; and since these lines are in 
the plane of the meridian, the highest points of the 
diurnal arc and the lowest points of the nocturnal arc 


are in the meridian, and this circle cuts both these arcs 
into two equal parts. Hence the meridian divides the 
artificial day and also^the natural day into two equal 
parts, that is, so far as the day depends, on the diurnal 
motion ; and from this circumstance it has the name of 
meridian or mid-day line. 

If a sharp-pointed piece of metal be any how firmly 
fixed in an horizontal plane, and from a point perpendi- 
cularly under the summit several concentric circles be 
drawn, and the exact point marked where the shadow of 
the summit meets the circumference of any of them in 
the forenoon, and likewise in the afternoon, where it 
meets the same circle, then a straight line drawn through 
the middle, between these two points and the centre, 
-will be a meridian line. Several circles being drawn, 
gives an opportunity to take that which answers at both 
times should clouds occur; and also it will prove the 
work, if the meridian be found by two of the circles. 
If the extremity of the shadow of,any stile be marked 
several times on any plane on an equinoctial day, a line 
drawn through the points is an east and west line, and a 
perpendicular to it is a meridian. By these methods the 
meridian may be found quite near enough for any 
common purpose. For the basis of astronomical compu- 
tations more attention and nicety are requisite. 

Since the plane of the celestial meridian passes through 
the centre of the earth and the axis, its intersection with 
the earth will be a great circle on its surface, in which 
are situated the terrestrial poles and the place of the 
spectator; and since every point in the heaven is the 
zenith to some point on the earth, a meridian may be 
conceived to pass through every point of the celestial 
sphere, and a corresponding one through every place on 
the earth, and the whole of them will intersect in the 
poles. It is also clear, that if a person move directly 
north or south, he will continue in the same meridian ; 
but if he go either east or west, he changes his meridian. 
On the other hand, if we conceive the plane of a terres- 
trial meridian extended every way, the extended plane 
cuts the heavens in a meridian there. Now suppose 
this extended meridian of any place to be fixed in re- 
spect of the earth, but carried round with it in its real 


diurnal motion ; as the earth revolves on its axis, tins 
extended plane or meridian will cut successively the 
different .celestial meridians ; and when any object or 
point in the heavens, as a star, sun, or moon's centre, or 
the centre of any planet or comet, appears in that re- 
volving plane, that object or point is said to be on the 
meridian, or to transit the meridian. The degrees of 
the meridian, from the horizon to the pole, is called the 
elevation of the pole, and from the horizon to the equi- 
noctial, the elevation of the equinoctial ; and these two 
elevations are together a quadrant, or ninety degrees, 
because the whole semicircle, or part of the meridian 
above the horizon, is 180°, and from the equinoctial to 
the pole is 90°. Hence, if the height of the sun or of a 
star be known, and also its distance from the pole or 
equinoctial, the latitude of the place, or its distance 
from the equator, will be also known. Thus has Provi- 
dence furnished us with an easy method of finding our 
change of region, in respect of north and south, when 
we travel by land or sea into distant or unknown parts 
of the earth's surface ; a matter of great importance to 
commercial people. If we observe the fixed stars, we 
find that they always transit the meridian at the same 
point of it, with the exception of a very minute devia- 
tion, which can only be discerned by the continued 
observations of very accurate astronomers ; but the sun, 
moon, and planets will be seen to cross the meridian in 
very different points, on their different returns to it, 
regularly cutting it more and more to a certain extent 
northward, and then again southward; and thus it is 
that we find the sun in these northern countries nearer 
our zenith in summer than in winter. 

There is a period of man's life which is called the 
meridian, and which, when once passed, we see the vital 
spark decline, and continue to approach the western 
boundary of its sphere, when it disappears, and eludes 
our sight. As we see the sun rise, reach its utmost 
height on the meridian, and at last set, so we see man 
begin his course, reach the highest point of his circle, 
and afterwards he is soon hidden from the eyes of the 
beholders. However, there is certainty in the sun's 
course ; but as to the course of human life, how full of 


uncertainty is it in every stage ! Who can tell whether 
or not he shall reach the true horizon, or even the meri- 
dian ? Let us, then, be prepared for every circumstance. 
The man who seeks not a preparation for death is not in 
a state fit for life ; a qualification for death is that alone 
which can render life itself agreeable. O Lord, my Re- 
deemer, through thine infinite merits remove my sins 
far from me, and fill my soul with the blessed principle 
of thy divine love. 



If we fix the epoch of the creation of the world ac- 
cording to the testimony of the sacred writings, it can 
scarcely have subsisted 6000 years. Those who suppose 
it much older are contradicted, both by reason and the 
historic monuments which have been handed down to 
us. The history of the human race does not go further 
back than that which Moses has written; for all that 
has been said concerning the origin of ancient nations is 
advanced without proof, nor does their history extend 
beyond the general deluge. As to the chronological 
books of the Chinese, they are evidently full of falsities. 
The Phoenicians have no historian more ancient than 
Sanchoniatho, who lived after Moses. The Egyptian 
history does not extend beyond Ham, the son of Noah ; 
and the books of the Jewish lawgiver are not only the 
most ancient, but also the most authentic of all the 
monuments of antiquity. If the world were some thou- 
sands of years older, it must be much better peopled 
than it is at present. Population has always increased 
since the deluge, and yet there might be three times as 
many more inhabitants on the earth than it at presentjcon- 
tains. It has been computed, that at least 5,000,000,000 
of men might live at once on our globe ; and yet it does 
not appear that there are really more than 1,080,000,000. 
In Asia are reckoned 650,000,000 ; in Africa and Ame- 
rica, 300,000,000; and in Europe, 130,000,000. 

If we consider the arts invented by men, we shall 

VOL. II. s 


find that few or none of them have heen discovered 
more than two or three thousand years. Man owes not 
only to his nature and reason the aptitude he has for 
acquiring arts and sciences, but he is also led to this by 
necessity ; by the desire he has to procure himself con- 
veniences and pleasures; by vanity and ambition ; and 
by luxury, the child of abundance, which creates new 
wants. This propensity is evident among all men, in 
all ages. History carries us back to the time when men 
had scarcely invented the most necessary arts; when 
those arts which were known were but very imperfectly 
understood ; and in which they scarcely knew anything 
of the first principles of the sciences. 

About four thousand years ago men were still in a 
state of great ignorance, concerning most subjects ; and 
if we calculate according to the progress which they have 
made since that time, and afterwards go back to the 
remotest periods, we may with tolerable exactness fix the 
era when men knew nothing ; which is, in other words, 
that of the infancy of the human race. Were their ex- 
istence to be carried higher, it is utterly improbable that 
the most useful and necessary arts should have continued 
unknown to them through such a long series of ages. 
On the contrary, all that can be discovered by the human 
mind must have been known a long time ago. From 
this circumstance, therefore, we must conclude, that the 
origin of the human race can have no other era than 
that which Moses has assigned it in his history of the 
creation. Would it not be absurd to suppose that men, 
during the course of so many thousand years, could have 
remained enveloped with the thickest darkness, and 
plunged in a sort of lethargy, from which they suddenly 
awoke, and began to invent arts to procure themselves 
the pleasures and conveniences of life ? 

Another circumstance should be remarked here : almost 
all Europe was formerly covered with immense forests, 
very few cities, towns, or villages being found in it. It 
is manifest that it must be better peopled now than it 
was at that time. Germany, for instance, was then but 
one great forest ; judge, therefore, what a desert it must 
have been ! At first, men could only sow vacant places 
which were found here and there in the forests ; they 


had no separate property, and changed their place of 
residence every year. In all Germany there was not a 
single fruit-tree. Acorns alone prevailed. If we wish 
to draw a parallel between ancient and modern Germany, 
we must first put aside the inhabitants of cities and 
towns; pay attention to the numerous colonies which 
Germany has sent to other countries ; observe, that most 
of the forests being now cut down and converted into 
arable ground, ancient Germany could scarcely have had 
one tenth part of the cultivated ground which it at 
present contains, and consequently could have had but 
one tenth part of its present number of inhabitants. 
How many millions less of men at that time than now ! 
And how abundantly must they have been multiplied 
since ! And yet, the forests which extend from Ger- 
many to the north-east of Asia, and those that remain 
still in Africa and America, prove that the earth is not 
as well peopled as it might be. The further we go back 
into antiquity, the less we shall find the world peopled 
and the earth cultivated, till we arrive at the epoch of 
the birth of the human race. It is therefore impossible 
that our globe should have been eternal, for, had it been 
so, it must have been as well peopled from time imme- 
morial as it is at present. 

All these considerations lead us to him who is the 
Creator of the heavens and the earth. From him, the 
world and its inhabitants derive their being. All things 
were made by him, and he was before worlds or creatures 
existed; and shall be eternally the same, when new 
worlds and new earths shall be produced. And shall 
not we also live for ever? Delightful and transporting 
thought ! When the heavens shall pass away, I shall 
remain ! And while eternity rolls on, I shall be found 
in the realms of beatitude ! 



However great and numerous the advantages may be 
which we derive from every part of a tree, yet there is 
none that can be compared with that which the wood 

s 2 


itself affords us. It grows in such abundance that we 
may justly say, God every day provides a new supply, 
that we might never be destitute of so useful a substance. 
It answers every end we wish to accomplish by it. It is 
pliant enough to take every sort of form we desire ; and 
rigid enough to keep that form we have given it ; and 
as it is easily sawed, bent, and polished, it furnishes us 
with many utensils, conveniences, and ornaments. 

But these are far from being the most important ad- 
vantages, as the greater part relate only to purposes of 
convenience and luxury ; we have wants of a more press- 
ing nature, which we could not supply had not wood a 
proper degree of thickness and solidity. Nature, it is 
true, supplies us with a great many heavy and compact 
bodies ; we have common stone and marble, which we 
may apply to various uses ; but it is so difficult to raise 
them out of their quarries, to drag, and hew them, that 
they become yery expensive ; whereas we can, with 
much less trouble and cost, procure the largest trees. 
Wooden piles, from sixty to ninety feet long, sunk down 
in the earth, make a sure foundation for walls, which, 
without this precaution, would sink into the clay, or 
tumble down where the foundation was sandy. These 
piles, forcibly driven down and made firm, constitute a 
forest of immoveable and incorruptible trees, which sup- 
port the most heavy and extensive buildings ; other pieces 
support the stone-work, and all the weight of tiles, lead, 
&c, which form the roofs of our houses. 

Wood is also a preservative of fife, as it is with many 
the principal fuel, without which they could neither pre- 
serve life, nor supply one half of their necessities. It is 
true that the sun is the soul of nature ; but it is impos- 
sible for us so to collect his rays as to dress our food, or 
melt our metals. Fire-wood, in some measure, supplies 
the place of the sun ; and the regulation of the degrees 
of heat depends on our own choice. The long nights of 
winter, the cold mists, and the north wind would freeze 
our blood, were we deprived of the comfortable heat 
produced by wood. How necessary then is wood ! and 
was it not for the wisest purposes that the Creator of the 
world has covered so great a part of the earth's surface 
with forests ? 


But do we consider wood in its various uses as a 
blessing from God ? Have we properly reflected on the 
benefits we derive from it, and acknowledged that they 
contribute much to our well-being ? Or, because these 
blessings are so common, have we not considered them 
as of little importance ? It is true that we can get wood 
more easily than gold or diamonds; but is it on this 
account a less peculiar blessing of Providence ? Are 
we under less obligations to return thanks to God for it : 
or is it not this very abundance, and the ease with which 
it is acquired, which should excite us so much the more 
to magnify the Creator for this precious gift ; the quan- 
tity of which is proportioned to our necessities ? These 
reflections may become a fruitful source of thanksgiving, 
if we only accustom ourselves to indulge -them in a 
lively, serious manner. The winter would furnish us 
with many blessed exercises of piety, were it our delight 
to meditate on the mercies of God ; and especially on 
those which he grants us at this season. While reflect- 
ing on the warmth which wood affords us in countries 
where pit-coal is not to be found, would it not be natural 
to expect that we should thus address ourselves to God : 
" Compassionate Father ! This also is one of thy bless- 
ings ; I receive it from thy hand with a lively sense of 
gratitude ; and I acknowledge thy providential care in 
this gentle warmth by which my frozen limbs are in- 
vigorated. Whether I feel the scorching days of summer, 
or the piercing cold of winter ; whether I breathe in 
the open air, or in a warm apartment, thou always 
showest thyself my benefactor. O, let me not forget 
any of thy mercies! And, as in each season of the 
year I receive peculiar marks of thy goodness, may I 
glorify and bless thee at all times ! Let me never con- 
sider even fire- wood with indifference ; but may the use 
which I make of it be a constant motive to induce me 
to exalt thy goodness !" These devout reflections are so 
far from being unnatural, that it would be utterly incon- 
sistent both with religion and reason, were they not fre- 
quently cultivated in our minds. 



We daily enjoy a variety of advantages which we 
derive from certain animals. The Creator has given us 
some to live in a state of society with us, and others to 
nourish us ; and all are designed in one way or other to 
minister to our necessities or pleasures. 

The dog is far from heing a despicable animal. Inde- 
pendently of the beauty of his form, his vivacity, strength, 
and swiftness, he has all those internal qualities which 
may attract -the notice of man. He possesses exquisitely 
tender feelings, which education still improves, and which 
render him worthy of being a companion for man. He 
knows how to promote his designs, watch for his safety, 
defend and flatter him by turns, and by assiduous ser- 
vices, and repeated caresses, render himself pleasing to 
his master. Without the assistance of this faithful 
domestic, man could not so easily vanquish and tame the 
other animals. In a word, it seems as if God had given 
the dog to man to serve as a companion, a help, and a 
guard. This very interesting animal merits our attention 
in other respects, and particularly in this, that he per- 
forms several actions which prove he is not a simple 
machine, but that he possesses a self-moving principle. 
How expressive are the signs by which he manifests his 
joy at his master s return ! But these signs are widely 
different from those which he discovers when he sees a 
thief, or a wolf, or when he is pursuing a hare. What 
cautious ardour, what cunning and prudence, do we 
observe in all his motions ! 

The advantages which we derive from the sheep are 
still more considerable, although it has not the gift of 
pleasing like the dog. Every part of the sheep is useful ; 
its milk, wool, flesh, and even its bones. What is most 
remarkable in this animal is, that it ruminates, or chews 
the cud. As it swallows its food hastily without suf- 
ficiently chewing it, it can bring it up again, rechew, and 
swallow it a second time. The cause of this is, its haying 


but one row of teeth ; hut this defect is compensated by 
the multiplicity of its stomachs. Of these the sheep 
has four. In the first, which is called the paunch, and 
is very large, the food which is raw, and almost whole, 
is a little moistened. The second, which is named the 
cap, or hood, is much smaller ; in it the food is better 
macerated, and digestion begins to make some progress. 
From this it passes into the third stomach, called the 
leaf or folds ; in this it continues till it is properly soaked 
and dissolved; for this intestine is composed of many 
folds or leaves, which permit nothing to pass but what is 
fluid. Finally, the digestion is perfected in the fourth 
stomach, which is called the rennet bag; in this the 
food changes its colour, and becomes as white as milk ; 
though in the third stomach it was quite green. 

The hare is neither destitute of instinct to provide for 
its own support, nor sagacity to escape from its enemies. 
It makes its own form or bed ; and in winter chooses 
those places which are exposed to the south; and in 
summer to the north. In order to hide itself, it squats 
in furrows or between hillocks, which are nearly the 
colour of its own fur. When it is hunted, it runs for a 
while rapidly forward, then it returns on its own steps, 
throws itself into by-paths, and after many leaps and 
doublings hides itself in the trunk of a tree or in a bush. 
It has cunning enough to change the place of its resi- 
dence continually, according to circumstances. 

The stag has more cunning and subtlety even than the 
hare, and gives still more trouble to the huntsman. Its 
elegant light form, its slender well-proportioned shape, 
its branching horns, which serve it more for ornament 
than defence, its size, swiftness, and strength, dis- 
tinguish it from all the inhabitants of the woods ; and it 
seems to have been made to embellish and enliven the 
solitude of the forests. 

When we reflect on these and innumerable other 
animals, we must acknowledge more and more with what 
goodness the Lord has provided for our support, con- 
venience, and pleasure. Our globe is the habitation of a 
multitude of creatures, which are in general subjected 
to man, and exist only for his service. And if the soil 
is so diversified, it is that a greater number of living 


creatures may find aliments suited to their respective 
natures. Are not all kinds of soils, the good and the 
bad, the sandy and the marshy, the rocky and the clayey, 
from the canks of the rivers to the tops of the moun- 
tains, stocked with animals, which are in one way or 
other useful to man ? Fowls are fed with the fragments 
from our tables, from which we derive great advantages. 
The delicate flesh of pigeons pays us with interest for 
the expense we are at in procuring them convenient and 
safe retreats. Swans free our ponds from a multitude of 
plants which would corrupt there. Hosts of ducks and 
geese yield their feathers to us for beds; and they only 
ask, as a return for their spoils, a little poor food, and a 
pond where they may wash, play, dive, and seek for 

In a word, there is no place, how parched or barren 
soever it may be, but produces various animals, which 
are useful to man. Can we then forget the riches of the 
divine goodness? The sight alone of the animals which 
have been created for our use is sufficient to make us 
blush with confusion. Let us not receive these benefits 
with an insensible heart. In all the gifts of nature, let 
vis taste and see that God is good, and ever use his 
mercies with a heart penetrated with gratitude. " The 
earth presents itself to our eyes, as the domain which 
thou hast assigned us ; every surrounding object of which 
was made for our use ! Lord, what is man, that thou art 
mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou thus 
curest for him ? Though he be a little lower than the 
angels, yet he is thy child. Thou makest him a partaker 
of thy happiness; thou crownest him with glory and 
honour ; thou hast put all things under his sway ; and 
the whole creation honours and acknowledges him for 
its monarch. The fierce bull, whose bellowings are 
heard from afar ; the gentle sheep ; the wild beasts which 
traverse and adorn our forests ; the fowls which people 
the air ; and the shoals of fish which fill the rivers and 
the sea ; all are obedient to his will, and all were created 
for his use." 



Snow is a species of hoar-frost, differing only in this, 
that the hoar-frost falls in the form of dew on the surface 
of certain cold hodies, which attract its humidity, and 
to which it remains fixed; whereas snow is formed 
before it falls, by congealed vapours in the middle region 
of the air ; which vapours follow the same laws, in fall- 
ing, as fogs, dew, and rain. The air is often excessively 
cold ; and this cold may sometimes be considerably in- 
creased by the density of the atmosphere, and by the 
■accession of acid vapours. It is, therefore, easy to com- 
prehend how the aqueous particles become congealed. 
But perhaps the clouds, more than any thing else, 
contribute to give this freezing property to the air; 
for, in general, every snowy day is a cloudy one ; now, 
the denser the clouds are, the more they intercept 
the sun's rays, and prevent their action. In consequence 
of this, the cold may become intense enough to cause 
the vapours to lose their fluidity, and convert them into 
snow. But, for the same reason, should we not some- 
times have snow in summer? It may undoubtedly 
happen, that even in the midst of summer snow may'be 
formed in the higher regions of the atmosphere. But 
it is never sufficiently cold in this season to prevent 
the icy particles from melting in their passage through 
the lower regions of the air; therefore they cannot 
appear to us under the form of snow. But this is 
not the case in winter, as it is then very cold, even in 
the lower regions of the atmosphere, and on the earth's 
surface ; and as the congealed vapours cannot receive in 
their fall sufficient warmth to melt them, they continue 
to preserve their snowy form. 

The shape of the flakes is very remarkable. They 
generally resemble little stars of six equal rays. It 
is difficult to assign a reason for this regular figure. 
Perhaps the cause ought to be sought for in the saline 
particles which float in the air, and which, becoming 
united to the snow, cause it to crystallize ; and then the 

s 3 


congealed vapours assembling round these saline par- 
ticles, which serve them as a sort of nucleus, they assume 
the hexagonal form. When the lower air is very cold, 
these little stars fall separately ; but when the air is more 
temperate or moist, they melt a little, and coming into 
contact, freeze together, and thus form flakes of dif- 
ferent sizes, according to the number of stars which 
happen to meet together. This is the reason why the 
snow never falls in large flakes when the cold is intense. 
An attentive observer cannot help admiring the divine 
power and wisdom, when he considers that the most 
exact proportions and the most perfect regularity are 
attended to, even in the formation of the particles of 
snow ! How great would our surprise be, were we to 
see them for the first time, and be told that this brilliant 
meteor was owing to some vapours in the atmosphere ! 
How suddenly does that snow with which we are encom- 
passed fall, without our having foreseen it! What a 
multitude of flakes fall from the atmosphere, throng one 
another, and in a few minutes cover the ground ! While 
this presents a pleasing object to the eye, and abundant 
matter of reflection to the mind, it is well calculated to 
justify what the pious Brookes has said : " Frost and 
snow have their charms, and the winter its sweets. Pure 
and innocent pleasure can never be unknown, except to 
those stupid men who reflect upon nothing, and pay no 
attention to the works of the Lord." 



It is a mistaken opinion, that winter is in general 
destructive to plants and trees. On the contrary, it is 
certain that the variations of heat and cold contribute 
much to the propagation and increase of vegetables. In 
warm climates, there are immense deserts, which would 
be still more barren if cold did not succeed to the burn- 
ing heats. The winter, far from being prejudicial to the 
fertility of the earth, favours and increases it. Cold 
countries have, notwithstanding their snows and frosts, 
plants which thrive well. A great many trees, as, for 


example, the fir, the pine, the juniper, the cedar, the 
box, and the larch, grow as well in winter as in other 
seasons ; and this was necessary, that the forests might 
furnish us with a sufficiency of wood and fruit. House- 
leek, stone-fern, sage, marjoram, thyme, lavender, dwarf 
wormwood, and other similar plants, preserve their ver- 
dure during the winter. There are also certain flowers 
which grow under the snow. The single anemone, the 
early hellebore, the cowslip, the primrose, the winter 
hyacinth, the narcissus, the snow-drop, and all sorts of 
mosses, grow green, and flourish in the cold. Botanists 
assure us that the plants of the frigid zone, if put in a 
greenhouse, cannot bear a heat of more than thirty-eight 
degrees ; that they bear the cold so well, that they grow 
In Sweden during the winter, as well as in most parts of 
France, Germany, Russia, and the northern parts of 
China. Vegetables of excessively cold climates cannot 
resist the heat ; nor can those which grow on the tops of 
very high mountains in any country. Mountains and 
rocks whose tops are covered with snow during the 
whole year are not without their peculiar plants. On 
the rocks of Lapland many of those vegetables grow 
which are found on the Alps and Pyrennees, on Mount 
Olympus, and in Spitzbergen, but nowhere else. When 
they are planted in a garden, they grow very tall, but 
bear little fruit. Few of the plants which thrive best in 
the northern countries can come to any perfection with- 
out snow. 

Thus, in the vast garden of nature, there is no soil 
which is entirely barren. From the finest mould to the 
hardest rocks, from the warmest countries under the 
line to the coldest climates of the north pole, there is 
no kind of soil but what produces plants peculiar to 
itself. And there is no season absolutely without flowers 
and fruit. 

Merciful Creator ! permit us not, even in this severe 
season, to forget thy paternal care ; and let us not close 
our eyes to the blessings which thou hast so liberally 
bestowed upon us ! Were we as attentive as we should 
be to the government of thy divine providence, we should 
at all times, and in all places, find motives sufficient to 
induce us to remember with gratitude the wisdom and 


goodness of thy conduct towards us. Nature is never 
either idle or barren ; in all seasons it continues its la- 
bour. Grant, gracious God, that it may be the same with 
us in every stage of life ! And should we be permitted 
to arrive at old age, let us neither be unfruitful, nor un- 
instructive to the world ! 



You who are sitting quietly in convenient and com- 
fortable apartments, who hear the keen north wind 
whistle round your dwellings, reflect on the state of 
many of your unhappy fellow-creatures, who are at pre- 
sent suffering the utmost severity of cold and poverty. 
" Happy they, who in this rigorous season have a house 
to shelter them, clothes to keep them warm, wholesome 
bread and the fruit of the vine to cheer and strengthen 
them, and a soft and comfortable bed on which they 
may rest, and enjoy pleasing dreams. But unhappy the 
poor man, to whom adversity refuses the necessary shel- 
ter ; without clothing to keep him from the cold ; often 
extended on a bed of sorrows, and too modest to make 
his necessities known." How deeply should we feel the 
misery of such people ! Let us attend to those objects 
of compassion who come to our doors ; how many are 
feebly crawling through the streets, tormented with hun- 
ger and cold ! How many old people, with scarcely 
enough to cover their shivering limbs ! Exposing them- 
selves for hours together to all the inclemency of the 
season, in order to solicit the smallest donation from 
those who pass by ! How many sick people are there 
without food or medicine; lying on beds of straw, in 
miserable cabins, cellars, and garrets, where the wind, 
the cold, and the snow are their principal visitants ! 

Winter renders charity to the poor still more neces- 
sary, because in this season their wants are increased. 
Is not this the time when even nature itself is impover- 
ished ? And will it not add a double value to our bene- 


factions, to distribute them seasonably ? If the summer 
and autumn have enriched us with their produce, is it 
not that we might share these blessings with our bre- 
thren, now that nature is at rest ? The more the cold 
increases, the more we should be disposed to relieve the 
necessitous ; to pour into the bosom of the indigent a 
part of the surplus which we have amassed. What other 
intention could Divine Providence have in its unequal 
distribution of worldly good, but to put it into the power 
of the affluent to feel for and relieve the necessities of 
their fellow-creatures ? 

Let us have pity therefore upon the poor, and not per- 
mit them to suffer even more than the brutes do ! It is 
our duty to mitigate their sufferings : Providence has 
eondescended to grant us that honour. Let the rich un- 
derstand that it is their duty and privilege to feed, clothe, 
warm, and cherish the distressed; to support them in 
their sufferings, and to snatch them from death. Let 
those who have abundance spare of that abundance ; 
and let those who have but little give of that little. 
One can scarcely be so poor as not to be able to do some 
good. Let us taste the sweetest satisfaction that a noble 
mind can feel, the divine pleasure of providing for the 
necessities of the poor, of sweetening to them the 
rigours of winter, and lessening the pressure of adver- 
sity. Who can withhold from himself the consolation 
of relieving the wants of the destitute, which in so many 
cases may be so easily effected ? We need only retract 
a few of our expenses in food, raiment, and pleasures. 
What a blessed offering would this be to God, were our 
beneficence to be accompanied with a victory over our 
passions, in retrenching the expense occasioned by 
luxury and vanity, in order to apply it to the relief of 
the poor ! 

Let each strive, during these winter days, to relieve, as 
far as he possibly can, the misery of his fellow-creatures. 
Let our comforts and conveniences cause us often to 
think of those who are destitute of the greater part of 
the sweets of life. In comparing our situation with that 
of others, we shall feel more powerfully our own happi- 
ness, and bless God with redoubled fervour for the great 
comfort we enjoy. Then, if the charitable disposition of 


our heart be not depraved by tbe world, or corrupted by 
passion, we shall be led to make as many happy as we 
possibly can, and to alleviate those ills which we cannot 
entirely cure. "We should frequently ask ourselves: 
What are the comforts which we desire in this inclement 
season ? They are the very same which we should, if 
possible, procure for our indigent brethren. Do we know 
any who have not sufficient clothing to preserve them 
from the cold : if so, should we not employ that part of 
our garments which only minister to luxury or pride, 
to clothe or procure clothing for them ? Do we sleep 
on a comfortable bed, while so many of our fellow- 
creatures are without any ? Should we not then be wil- 
ling to lie less comfortably, in order to procure the rest- 
less and destitute some refreshing sleep ? Do we feel 
the cheering warmth of a comfortable dwelling ? Why 
then should so many others shiver with cold ? Should 
we not make use of the most effectual and speedy means 
in our power to alleviate their distresses, and to sweeten 
the bitterness of their lot ? 



In every respect the study of nature is profitable ; 
with propriety it may be called a school for the heart, 
seeing it, in a certain sense, teaches us the duty we owe 
to God, to our neighbour, and to ourselves. 

Can anything inspire a deeper veneration for the Su- 
preme Being than the reflection that it is he who has 
not only formed the globe of the earth out of nothing, 
and suspended it in the empty space with all the crea- 
tures it contains, but whose mighty hand also confines 
the sun in his place, and the sea within its shores ; can 
we humble ourselves too much in the presence of that 
Being, who has created the innumerable worlds which 
roll above our heads? What despicable creatures are 
we, when compared with those immense globes ! And 
how mean does the earth and all its glory appear, when 
considered in this point of view ! Should we not shud- 


der at the bare thought of offending this God, whose 
unbounded power every moment meets our eyes ; and 
who can with one look destroy us, or render us the most 
miserable of all his creatures ! But the contemplation 
of nature is also blessedly calculated to fill us with love 
and gratitude to its Author. All nature, with a loud 
voice, proclaims this consolatory truth — God is love. It 
was this love that induced God to manifest his glory in 
the creation of the world, and to communicate to other 
beings a portion of that felicity which himself enjoyed. 
On this account he created the universe, and an innu- 
merable multitude of beings, that all, from the archangel 
to the worm, might prove, according to its nature and 
capacity, and might feel the effects of the Divine good- 
ness. Is there a creature which does not exhibit proofs 
of this amazing goodness ? 

But we ourselves are particular instances of it : the 
Creator has endued us with reason, not only to enable us 
to enjoy his benefits, but to acknowledge and feel that 
love with which he has honoured us, and which infinitely 
increases the value of all his blessings. He has decreed 
that man should rule over the animals, and make them 
subservient to his wants and conveniences. It is for us 
the earth produces fruit in such abundance. From him 
we receive those innumerable daily benefits, to which 
we owe the continuance of our lives. His love is disin- 
terested ; for he can receive nothing from his creatures ; 
his felicity can admit of no increase. Can these consi- 
derations fail to affect us, to excite our gratitude, and to 
engage us to return love for love to our beneficent Crea- 
tor ? Lastly, the contemplation of the universe, and the 
perfections of God, which are manifested in it with so 
much splendour, should naturally increase our confidence 
in him. How great should our tranquillity be, when we 
consider that our lot is in the hands of that Being, of 
whose power, wisdom, and goodness we have as many 
proofs as we have creatures before our eyes ? Can there 
happen any perplexity, embarrassment, or danger, from 
which we cannot be delivered by the hands of him who 
stretched out. the heavens and formed all his creatures 
in so admirable a manner ? And need anything prevent 
us from having recourse to him in all our necessities and 


tribulations, with the full assurance that lie will hear our 
prayers ? 

Is it possible for mean and selfish sentiments to lodge 
in the heart of that man, who, in contemplating nature, 
discovers everywhere the footsteps of the infinite bene- 
ficence of .that great Being who does not propose less the 
particular happiness of each individual, than the general 
good of the universe ? Even a superficial contemplation 
of the ways of providence must deeply impress the mind 
with a sense of the goodness of God, and his tender 
concern for all that exists. And the heart must be ex- 
tremely depraved, which, under a conviction of this uni- 
versal beneficence of the Creator, is not inspired with 
the determination to imitate him. Should we not, ac- 
cording to the divine example, feel sincere good will to all 
his creatures. " God causeth his sun to rise on the evil 
and the good, and sendeth his rain on the just and un- 
just." Can we then exclude any from our charity, or 
be partial in the distribution of its effects ? God loves 
the little as well as the great ; the poor as well as the 
rich ; and he does good invariably to all. If, therefore, 
we wish to imitate our heavenly Father, should we not 
endeavour to get a love as general and disinterested 
lighted up in our hearts ? 

Finally, when we contemplate the admirable order 
and harmony which reign through all nature, should we 
not be led to pray that the dispositions of our minds 
might resemble it? If we be well convinced that 
nothing can please God which is not according to order, 
should we not apply ourselves with all our power to be 
conformed to his will ? How despicable should we be, 
even in our own eyes, if through our fault we produce 
any derangement in the admirable plan of nature ? God 
wills our perfection : should we not feel ourselves obliged 
to be conformed to his merciful designs ; and in order 
to this, make a proper use of every mean which nature 
and grace have afforded us ? ■ This should henceforth be 
our great, our principal occupation. As often as we 
discover any irregularity in our hearts or ways, we should 
incessantly labour to have it corrected, and thus be 
workers together with the saving influences of the Spirit 
of God. 


Thus nature may become an excellent school for the 
heart. Should we not be attentive to its instructions, 
and profit by them in a teachable spirit? Here we may 
learn true wisdom, that wisdom which is never accom- 
panied with disgust or irksomeness; we may learn to 
know God, and find in this blessed knowledge the fore- 
tastes of paradise. Thus our days may pass sweetly 
away, till we are introduced into that world where we 
shall no longer be confined to the first rudiments of 
science, but where our knowledge and holiness shall be 
more and more perfected through all eternity. 

Note. — The above may do very well in its place, but without the 
assistance of divine revelation, no man can thoroughly know the 
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, whom to know, 
as the Scripture has revealed him, is life everlasting. — A. C. 



Most people wish that they were not exposed to any 
evil in this world. If they had their choice, and could 
dispose their lot at pleasure, they would endeavour to 
secure to themselves a life exempt from all kinds of 
trouble and affliction. But is it really true that we should 
certainly be happy, if nothing happened to disturb our 
worldly prosperity and repose, and that we should, during 
the course of our lives, be exempt from all disttgreeable 
occurrences ? This question, on the decision of which 
our happiness here below so materially depends, deserves 
to be examined with care, at the same time guarding as 
much as possible against the illusions of sell-love. 

Should we be really happy were we to enjoy uninter- 
rupted prosperity in this world ? I think not. Constant 
prosperity will soon grow insipid ; and disgust would 
change our felicity into real misery. On the contrary, 
the evils which we sometimes suffer enhance the value 
of our blessings, as colours are relieved and set off by 


shades. Were there no winter, could we be so affected 
as we are by the charms of spring ? Can we know the 
value of health without sickness, the sweets of rest 
without the pains of labour, the peace and consolations 
of a good conscience, if we had never been tempted and 
tried ? The more obstacles are opposed to our happi- 
ness, the greater is our joy when we have been enabled 
to surmount them. The heavier our calamities are, the 
more happy we feel when delivered from them ; and the 
satisfaction which, in such cases, we often feel, makes us 
shed tears of joy. Besides, if the afflictions of which 
we complain did not happen, we should certainly be ex- 
posed to incomparably greater evils. If all our days were 
prosperous, we should soon be lost in pride, luxury, and 
ambition. If we were never pressed by want, none 
would take the trouble of being active and laborious in 
his vocation. None would exercise his talents, or culti- 
vate his mind ; and none would be animated with zeal 
for the public good. 

If we were never exposed to danger, how should we 
become prudent, and how could we learn to feel for 
those whose lives are exposed to danger ? Had we no 
ills to apprehend, intoxicated with prosperity, we should 
easily forget gratitude to God, charity to our neighbour, 
and all our duties in general. Are not then these virtues, 
these mental accomplishments, a thousand times pre- 
ferable to a continual train of agreeable sensations from 
outward prosperity, which would soon appear dull and 
insipid, because uninterruptedly enjoyed ? " He who 
always reposes in the lap of prosperity soon becomes 
backward to all good, and incapable of performing any 
great action ; but let him feel the strokes of adversity, 
and he will return to wisdom, activity, and virtue." 

How unjust and inconsistent are the desires of men ! 
They wish to live quiet, contented, and happy, and are 
discontented with the means which lead to the accom- 
plishment of their own desires ! In the heats of sum- 
mer we pant for the refreshing breeze, and yet we are 
displeased with the storm that cools and refreshes the 
air. Thunder purifies the atmosphere, and renders the 
earth fruitful ; yet we complain that the flashes of light- 
ning terrify our minds. We acknowledge the use of 


coal, sulphur, minerals, and warm baths, but we do not 
like earthquakes. We wish that there were no conta- 
gious nor epidemic disorders, and yet we complain of 
those tempests which prevent that corruption of the air 
which produces them. We wish to have servants, and 
yet we desire that there should be neither poverty nor 
an inequality of station in the world. In a word, we 
wish to have every end accomplished, without the use 
of the means which lead to it. 

Acknowledge, O man, the wise and beneficent designs 
of thy God, even when he permits thee to feel the fre- 
quent vicissitudes of joy and sorrow, of prosperity and 
adversity. Is he not the Arbiter of our lot ; the Master 
who can punish or reward; the Father, from whose 
tender love even our chastisements themselves must 
come ? Are we not in a world, one peculiar character- 
istic of which is, to be subject to continual changes and 
revolutions ? Have we not often found, in the course of 
our life, that what our ignorance considered as an evil, 
really contributed to our true happiness ? Let us there- 
fore receive with meekness from the hand of God those 
afflictions which he thinks proper to dispense. They 
appear dreadful only in their beginnings ; but the more 
we are exercised by them, the more supportable we shall 
find them, and experience their most salutary effects. 
If in adversity we have faith and patience, we shall in 
the end be enabled to bless God for the afflictions he 
has sent us. However it may be, we shall certainly bless 
him in eternity for all our sufferings. There we shall 
form a different judgment of the troubles we have passed 
through here below. We shall then see that without 
the afflictions of which we now complain we should never 
have arrived at that state of felicity which God has de- 
signed for us. " There, our complaints and our sorrows 
shall cease for ever. There, transported with gratitude 
and joy, we shall offer songs of praise and thanksgiving 
to God, for all the afflictions we have patiently suffered 
here below. There we shall exclaim, in holy ecstasy, 
All is finished, all is well ! God has done all things in 
infinite goodness and mercy." 



Nature of itself is completely producing changes on 
the surface of the earth, which have a great influence 
on the whole globe. Many ancient monuments prove 
that in various places its surface sinks down, at some 
times suddenly, at others gradually. The wall built by 
the Romans, in the second century, between the river 
Forth and the river Clyde, across Scotland, is at present 
almost entirely buried under ground, remains of which 
are daily discovered. Mountains, those pillars of the 
earth, are exposed to similar ruin, occasioned sometimes 
by the nature of the soil, at other times by water, which 
sap their foundations, and lastly by subterranean fires. 
But if some parts of the globe sink down, others on the 
contrary become more elevated. A fruitful valley, at the 
end of a century, may be converted into a marsh, where 
clay, turf, and other substances form layers upon each 
other. Lakes and gulfs are converted into dry land. 
In stagnant waters, rushes, weeds, and different plants 
grow ; animal and vegetable substances putrefy in them, 
and gradually form a kind of mud and mould, and the 
bottom rises up so, that solid earth takes the place of 

Subterraneous fires, also, produce great changes on our 
globe. The effects are perceived by three different com- 
motions, which are generally felt separately, but which 
sometimes come all together. The first consists in a 
horizontal motion forwards and backwards. When these 
oscillations are violent and unequal, they throw down 
buildings, and change the surface of the ground. This 
kind of undulatory motion may be easily discerned in 
the water. There are other earthquakes, called shocks 
or tossings. These sometimes cause new islands to arise 
suddenly from the bottom of the sea. The outward 
crust of the earth being violently pushed up, falls down 
lower than before, breaks into chasms, and thus forms 
lakes, marshes, and springs. Lastly, there are explo- 


sions similar to those of mines, accompanied with inflam- 
mable matter. These violent shocks and convulsions 
often cause great devastations, and make considerable 
changes on the surface of our planet. The outward 
crust of the earth cleaves in different places, sinks on one 
hand, and rises on the other. The sea partakes of these 
commotions ; but the most sensible effect which we per- 
ceive in it is the formation of new islands. They are 
produced by the elevation of the bottom of the sea, or 
are composed of pummice-stones, calcined rocks, or other 
matters projected from volcanoes. History informs us, 
that through earthquakes, produced by subterranean fires, 
whole cities have been swallowed up, and buried sixty 
feet deep, so that the earth that covered them became 
afterwards arable ground. 

Many other alterations, produced on our globe, have 
been occasioned by the motion of the waters. Heavy 
rains soak into the mountains, and wash away a great 
deal of earth, which, being swept down into rivers and 
into the sea, raise the bottom of them considerably. 
Rivers also change their course ; coasts themselves are 
sometimes displaced. Sometimes the sea retires, and 
leaves whole countries dry, which were before its bed; 
at other times it gains on the land, and whole districts 
are inundated. Places which were formerly contiguous 
to the sea, are now a great distance from it. Anchors, and 
vast iron rings to moor vessels, and the remains of ships, 
which are found on the mountains and marshes, at a great 
distance from the sea, incontestably prove that many 
places formerly covered by the sea are at present solid land. 
There is every appearance that England was once joined 
to France ; the beds of earth and stone which are the same 
on each side of the strait between Dover and Calais, and 
the shallowness of the sea between those two places, seem 
strong indications of this. Climates also produce great 
alterations on the globe. Between the tropics, the heats 
and rains are alternate. In some places it rains for 
several months together, and at other times the heat is 
excessive. The countries in the vicinity of the pole 
undergo great changes, through the intenseness of the 
cold. In autumn the water penetrates through a multi- 
tude of little crevices in the rocks and mountains ; there 


it freezes in winter, and the ice, dilating and bursting, 
makes great havoc. 

Such revolutions, produced by accidental causes, are 
palpable proofs of the frailty of the earth itself. They 
prove, also, that God is not an idle spectator of the alter- 
ations which take place on our globe, but that he has 
arranged, and continues to direct, everything according 
to infinitely wise laws. Hence we may also learn that 
all things here below are subject to continual vicissitudes. 
"We even see that frequent accidental revolutions cause, 
not only the inanimate, but all the animate world to as- 
sume a new appearance. One generation disappears, and 
gives place to another. Some rise to dignities and 
honours, while others fall into misery and contempt 
There are continual changes and migrations among the 
different creatures ; and various gradations in their con- 
dition and faculties. God has allotted to all beings 
different periods of duration ; some are appointed to a 
short and momentary existence, others to a long life, and 
others to an endless duration. In all this, how evidently 
do the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Creator shine 



Providence manifests itself even in our clothing. 
How many animals give us their hair, wool, fur, or skins 
to cover us ! The sheep alone, with its wool, furnishes 
the most necessary part of our dress ; and it is to the 
valuable labours of a worm that we owe our silks. How 
many plants also serve for the same purpose! Hemp 
and flax furnish us with linen; and many different stuffs 
are made out of cotton. But these vast stores of nature 
would not have been sufficient, had not God endowed 
man with industry and an inexhaustible fund of invention, 
and given him hands capable of preparing clothing of 
different kinds. Let us only reflect on the labour re- 
ouisite to produce one piece of cloth, and we shall see 


that it demands the united exertions of a multitude of 
hands to prepare even a few yards. How little cause 
have we to be vain of our dress, seeing we are obliged 
to have recourse to the most despicable animals for the 
materials out of which it is made, and to that class of 
people as workmen which our pride despises the most. 

But why has the Creator laid us under the necessity 
of providing for ourselves, while all other animals receive 
theirs immediately from nature ? I answer: This obliga- 
tion is very advantageous to us ; on one hand, it is favour- 
able to our health ; and on the other, it is suited to our 
manner of life. We can thus regulate our garments 
according to the different seasons of the year, the climate 
where we live, and particularly according to the situation 
or profession we have chosen. Our garments promote 
insensible perspiration, so essential to the preservation 
of our life. The necessity of procuring them ourselves 
exercises the mind, and gives birth to the invention of 
many arts ; and lastly, the labour they require provides 
subsistence for a multitude of workmen. We have 
therefore the utmost reason to be satisfied with this 
arrangement of Providence. Let us only take care not 
to forget its design in furnishing us with clothing. A 
Christian should not seek his glory in the outward orna- 
ments of his body, but in the virtuous dispositions of 
his soul. The proud person assumes a thousand different 
forms, and inwardly glories in the most frivolous advan- 
tages, attributes excellencies to himself which he has 
not, or rates too highly those which he has. As to the 
outside, some show their pride in the splendour of silks, 
gold, and jewels; whilst others nourish it under rags. The 
true Christian avoids both these excesses. The first is 
supremely foolish ; for it is degrading to human nature 
to seek glory in outward ornaments. We wear clothes 
topreserve our bodies from the intemperature of the air, 
a precaution which the weakness of man, since his fall, 
has rendered necessary, not only for health and de- 
cency, but also to distinguish the sexes, and to establish 
those distinctions which are necessary in the different 
orders of society. These are the rational ends for which 
our garments have been designed, and we should use 
them only for the fulfilment of these designs. 


Let us reflect a little on the state of many of our fel- 
low-creatures, who have scarcely clothes to coyer them, 
Alas ! how many are there around us who are but half 
clothed, and in these severe winter days can scarcely 
shelter themselves from the cold ! Let the sight of these 
miserable people cause us to have a lively sense of the 
Divine goodness, which has enabled us to, provide for 
ourselves with the necessary clothing. As many of those 
who may read this paper may have clothing in abundance, 
let them remember that there are many very near them 
who can scarcely provide themselves a single coat ! ye 
rich ! it is your duty to clothe the naked, and to be un- 
feignedly thankful to God for the abundance he has 
given you. 

How should we bless our Preserver for the benefits 
in this respect we have received from his hands ! How 
many suits have we received, how many worn, and how 
many cast off, from our infant state, until now ! In this, 
also, how has God united the useful with the necessary, 
and the pleasing with the useful! Let us return him 
thanks for his goodness ; and beseech him so to instruct 
our hearts, that our clothing shall never render us guilty 
of pride and vanity ; that we may delight to clothe the 
poor, and learn how to unite kindness to humility, and 
avoid superfluities. Let us learn to get our souls adorned 
with holiness, seeing this alone, in the sight of the Lord, 
is of great price. By and by, a shroud shall be our last 
covering. May God grant that at that time we may be 
found clothed with salvation, that an abundant entrance 
may be ministered unto us into the everlasting kingdom 
of our God and his Christ. 

" Yes, O Father, thou wilt provide ! Thou well 
knowest the necessities of thy children. I will trust in 
thy goodness, O thou who powerfully supportest the 
weak ! My hope, O Lord, is all in thee. Let my faith 
be increased, and my love perfected, day by day !" 



It is a wonderful proof of Divine Providence, that all 
animals should he naturally provided with coverings the 
best suited to their several habitations and manner of 
life. Some are covered with hair, others with feathers ; 
some with scales, and others with shells. This variety 
is a sure proof that a Wise Artist has prepared the 
clothing of animals ; as it is not only adapted in general 
to the different kinds, but appropriated also to each in- 
dividual. Hair is the most convenient clothing for 
quadrupeds. Nature, in giving it to them, has so formed 
the texture of their skin, that they can, without incon- 
venience, lie on the earth in all kinds of weather, and 
be employed in the service of man. The thick fur of 
some animals not only preserves them from wet and 
cold, but serves also to cover their young, and provide 
them with a soft bed. For fowls and certain insects, 
feathers are the most convenient covering ; for they not 
only protect them from cold and wet, but are so disposed 
as to support them in the air. On this account they are 
spread over the whole body, and then: delicate texture is 
peculiarly favourable to flight. They are light and hol- 
low, and their tubes are rilled with a marrowy substance 
which strengthens them ; and the capillary filaments, in- 
terwoven with so much art, render them thick enough to 
endure the heat of the body, preserve them from the in- 
temperature of the air, and give the wings a proper 
degree of strength. 

The clothing of reptiles is perfectly adapted to their 
manner of life. Observe, for instance, the earthworm. 
Its body is formed only of a series of little rings, and 
each ring is provided with a certain number of muscles, 
by means of which, the body may be greatly extended 
or contracted. These creatures have a sort of glutinous 
juice under their skin, which is perspired, and covers the 
body with a gluey substance, which enables it to slip the 



better through the earth, which it could not do were it 
covered with hair, feathers, or scales- 

The substance which covers aquatic animals is not 
less suited to the element they dwell in. Fish could 
not possibly have more convenient clothing than scales : 
the form, size, substance, number, and situation of 
which are perfectly adapted to the peculiar manner of 
life of these animals. Nor could shell-fish be better 
clothed or better lodged than they are. 

That which is particularly remarkable here is, the 
beauty of these different coverings. The most deformed 
beasts, whose appearance is the most disagreeable, have 
in this respect their beauty. But to the principal part 
of birds and insects God has dispensed ornaments with 
the most liberal profusion. Let us only fix our atten- 
tion on the butterfly ; its beauty must excite our sur- 
prise and admiration. Many of these animals have but 
simple clothing, and are all of one colour. Others are 
sparingly ornamented, and others shine with the greatest 
variety of the most splendid colours. How greatly has 
nature diversified the beauty and plumage of birds ! The 
little colibri, or humming-bird, an inhabitant of America, 
is one of the wonders of nature ; it is not larger than a 
great fly, but the plumage is so beautiful that its neck 
and wings resemble the rainbow. Its neck is of a bright 
ruby red ; under the belly and wings it is as yellow as 
gold ; the thighs are as green as an emerald ; and the 
feet and beak polished, and as black as ebony. The 
males have a little tuft on their heads, composed of all 
the colours which adorn the rest of the body. These 
are worn as pendants in the ears of the women in 

It is impossible not to be convinced, that God, in 
creating birds, had their conveniency, utility, and beauty 
particularly in view. Every animal has that kind of 
dress which is most suitable, and it would be imperfect 
were it clothed 'in any other way. There is nothing 
wanting, and nothing superfluous ; and everything is so 
well arranged, and finished in such a masterly manner, 
that no human industry or skill can equal it. Does not 
all this demonstrate the existence of a Being who has all 
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, joined with an 


unbounded goodness ; who has determined to render 
each creature as happy as is consistent with its nature, 
and the end for which he has formed it ? 



I hear the winds and tempest roar, and my blood 
freezes in my veins. The gloominess of the day ; its 
almost extinguished light ; a disposition in myself to ter- 
ror and dismay; all concur to render the tumult and 
disorder which prevail in nature still more dreadful. 
How often does the wind overturn cottages, and even 
palaces ; and thus, the labour of years is in an instant 
destroyed. How often have ships, and the unhappy per- 
sons who hazarded their lives on the brittle vessel, been 
precipitated into the yawning abyss ! How often have 
the sturdy oaks been torn up from the roots ! Yet thou, 
O Lord, art the Author and Ruler of the storm : the 
north- wind and the tempest are thy messengers, the 
heralds of thy power, and ministers of thy will. They 
should lead us to fear and adore thee. Didst thou not 
set bounds to their destructive power, they would every- 
where and at all times occasion the same devastations. 
Yet the poor cottage, notwithstanding the violence of 
the storm, is still preserved, though unsheltered from 
the rude blast. Thanks be given to that powerful Being, 
whose voice silences the winds and the waves. His wis- 
dom has ordained all for the best. 

" But if the world and all events are his work, and 
the effect of an infinite wisdom, how can confusion, de- 
solation, and ruin, occasioned by tempests, be permitted 
to take place ? Can perfect wisdom produce anything 
but order ? And can perfect goodness design any end 
but what is good ?" Thus thou inquirest, man ; but 
what art thou, to dispute with God? Shall the crea- 
ture say to his Creator, Why hast thou made me thus ? 
But does it follow, because we cannot comprehend and 
explain everything, that there are any defects in the 
works of the Lord ? To be able to judge of his works, 

T 2 


and the ends he has proposed, we must be equal to him 
in wisdom and understanding. It is indeed a real mira- 
cle that we are capable of perceiving even a little of the 
order which he has established, of comprehending a part 
of the wise and extensive plan which he has executed ; 
and, considering the darkness of our understanding, it is 
astonishing that things do not appear still more con- 
fusedly to us ! Alas ! all would be disorder and confu- 
sion ; order, harmony, and happiness could not exist in 
the universe, were there not a Being whose wisdom, 
goodness, and power infinitely surpassed our conceptions ; 
a Being who has created the world and all that it con- 
tains. All the light, goodness, and felicity which are 
found in the world, prove the wisdom and goodness of 
our Creator. And as the general arrangement and ordi- 
nary course of nature visibly tend only to the good of 
the creatures, whatever particular accidents may appear 
contradictory to this design, they prove only our igno- 
rance, and the limited state of our understanding. To 
make one whole, out of all the materials of which the 
visible world is composed, where so many magnificent 
phenomena are produced, where the various beauties 
and treasures of fight, virtue, and felicity are displayed 
before our eyes, is a work so marvellous and divine, that 
none but a being of infinite wisdom, power, and good- 
ness could have conceived the idea, or executed the 

The more we advance in our researches in nature's 
works, the more clearly we discern that wisdom and 
goodness which have created and which govern the 
whole. After having laid down these principles, we 
shall think differently from what we have done of the 
ravages of winter. Even the tempests, the snow, the 
frost, and all that appears disagreeable at this season, 
are linked together in the eternal order of things. Each 
thing has its season, and comes at the determined time ; 
and by means of all these revolutions the divine wisdom 
preserves the harmony of the immense whole. The 
wind, which terrifies the mariner at sea, carries water to 
dry barren lands. The sulphureous vapours, salts, and 
other matters, driven by the wind from one country to 
another, revive the earth, and restore fertility to the 


fields, covered with stubble, which frequent crops had 
exhausted. Thus, the winter, which appears so destruc- 
tive, enables our fields to produce new crops. 

At present, the ground, the gardens, and the seeds 
rest, buried under the snow and ice. The inhabitants of 
the forests howl more hideously than usual. The beasts 
are oppressed with hunger. The whole world appears 
dead. But the Lord preserves the world under this ap- 
parent death, and watches our perishing nature. What 
miracles are wrought in the midst of these terrifying 
scenes of winter ! He feeds and supports the poor ; the 
sparrow which can now no longer find food, lives not- 
withstanding, in the place of its retreat, on the gifts of 
God's beneficent hand. The earth, whose fruitful bosom 
is now shut up, provides no more food ; but his hand, 
which is ever open, provides the necessaries of life, and 
he calls into being the things which do not as yet 

" Lord, thou art great ! In the most tempestuous sea- 
sons thou showest thyself the mild and compassionate 
Lord. Thou knowest how to prepare us food from snow 
and ice ; and to enable man to shake off the yoke of 
pinching cold, thou endowest him with understanding 
and industry. Thou clothest the naked ; thou strength - 
enest the weak; they live and are prosperous. Teach 
us to seek thy face, and ever to acknowledge thee as the 
friend and benefactor of mankind. May thy goodness 
kindle a holy love in our hearts ; such a love as feels no 
difficulty to extend itself to our most cruel enemy ; so 
that we may clothe him when naked, feed him when 
hungry, and dry up his tears in the day of his distress ! 
It is right that the world should be ever governed by 
the eternal laws which thou hast prescribed. When, for 
thy sake, the poor man shares his morsel with him who 
is utterly destitute, condescend to compensate his labour 
of love. Thy purpose is everlasting. While time shall 
endure, summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, shall 
succeed each other, and thy blessing shall rest on the 
whole creation." 



The great interval which separates man from the 
quadrupeds is filled up by the ape, and by those ani- 
mals which bear the nearest resemblance to the ape, the 
species of which are very numerous and intimately 
blended. Leaving those which approach nearest to 
quadrupeds properly such, we insensibly arise by a variety 
of gradations to a principal and superior species, which 
has so near a resemblance to the human race, that, from 
this circumstance, it has received the name of Orang- 
Outang, or Wild Man. 

If the elephant appear to resemble man by intelligence, 
the orang-outang bears a nearer resemblance to him, 
not only in his external and internal structure, but also 
in his inclinations and habits, and the various talents 
which result from them. 

The orang-outang resembles the human being so 
much, that the anatomist who compares them seems to 
compare two individuals of the same species, or, at least, 
of the same genus, so that, struck with the numerous 
and decisive similitudes which he discovers between 
these two beings, he does not hesitate a moment to place 
the orang-outang immediately after the Hottentot. 

This animal, the chief and largest of the ape kind, ap- 
pears in effect to possess all the attributes of humanity, 
if we except only that grand and most distinguishing 
characteristic of man, which no other animal shares with 
him, and which gives him a decided superiority over all 
— reason and speech. The orang-outang does not speak ; 
therefore he does not think, for speech is necessary to 
thought. He has, notwithstanding, all the exterior 
organs of speech ; and on dissection, his brain appears 
perfectly to resemble that of man : yet something in the 
number, figure, or arrangement of the particles of matter 
in the brain, which corresponds to the human voice, 
must be wanting. This animal has not the capacity of 
connecting his ideas with those articulate sounds which 
represent them ; nor of associating or combining them 
in that infinitely diversified manner which is so evident 


in man. But though the orang-outang he not man, yet 
he is, at least, the most perfect similitude of man on 
the face of the earth. Indeed this similitude is so com- 
plete, that the female has the same periodical evacua- 
tion as the female of the human species. The male is 
sometimes as tall, and rather lustier than man. Like 
him, he walks upright, using a staff for the purpose, 
which he procures for himself; and which he can use 
well, either in case of self-defence, or in attacking his 
enemy. With astonishment we behold him taking his 
place at table among the guests, unfolding his napkin, 
and using his knife, fork, and spoon, in the most proper 
manner. He pours out the liquor into the glass ; touches 
glasses with any of the company when desired; wipes 
his lips with the napkin ; lays the cup and saucer on the 
table, puts in the sugar, pours out the tea, and then 
leaves it to cool before he attempts to drink it : finally, 
shakes hands with the guests, or walks out gravely along 
with them. 

We are not less surprised to see the orang-outang lie 
down in the bed which he himself has previously made, 
place his head upon the bolster, bind it with a hand- 
kerchief, adjust the clothes on him, &c. One who in 
sickness had been twice bled in the arm, when after- 
wards afflicted, presented his arm, as if desirous of being 
relieved by the same treatment. 

Very susceptible of instruction, the orang-outang makes 
a good servant, and will readily obey either signs or 
words. If brought up to domestic service, he acquits 
himself with great propriety and exactness in the dif- 
ferent functions assigned to him ; rinses the glasses, 
brings drink, turns the spit, pounds in a mortar what- 
ever is given him to pound, goes to the well for water, 
fills his pitcher, places it on his head, brings it home, &c. 
These animals live in society in the woods ; they have 
both strength and courage sufficient to attack an elephant 
with their clubs, and compel him to retreat. They even 
dare to attack an armed man. More industrious than 
the elephant, they understand how to build huts with 
interwoven branches, properly adapted to their neces- 
sities. They are passionately fond of women ; pursue 


them with vehemence, embrace them when they catch 
them, feed and take the utmost care of them. 

The female is affectionately attached to her young ; 
carries it in her arms ; gives it the breast, provides for all 
its necessities, and defends it with great courage. 

I almost scruple to insert here a last trait of the instinct 
of the orang-outang, which at first view might appear 
more proper for fable than history ; but which we have 
received from a celebrated traveller, and with which the 
great historian of nature has not disdained to enrich his 
work. When the orang-outang finds no more fruits on 
the mountains, or in the woods, he goes to the sea-coast 
in search of a very large species of oyster, of several 
pounds weight, which he often finds gaping on the shore ; 
but the circumspect animal, fearing lest the oyster in 
closing his shell should catch hold of his hand, very 
.adroitly puts in a stone, which, hindering the shells from 
closing, permits him to take out and eat the fish at his 

How manifold and beneficent is the wisdom of God ! 
What an endless diversity in the works of his hands ! 
Nature never proceeds by leaps ; what an enormous dis- 
tance separates the man from the dog ! and yet between 
the man and dog the links of the chain are uninterrupted. 
In proceeding along this chain the contemplator of nature 
arrives at last, with astonishment, at a being so similar to 
man, that the characteristics which distinguish them 
seem less to be specific differences than simple varieties ! 
Reader, God has distinguished thee from the animal in 
question, by reason and speech ; he has also given thee 
an immortal soul ; he has made thee lord of this lower 
world ; and rendered thee capable of infinite happiness ; 
submit to him who is Lord of the universe ; and devote 
all thy powers unreservedly to his glory ! 




There are some animals which lay up stores for winter, 
and in harvest-time make provision for six months. It 
seems as if they foresaw a season when they could not 
collect food, and made use of this precaution for their 
future support ; besides, they can calculate exactly what 
will be necessary, not only for their own consumption, 
but also for that of their family. Bees are almost the 
only insects which lay up provisions for winter. They 
use their wax with astonishing economy, as they know 
they can collect no more after the season of flowers is 
over, and have no other resource for their subsistence, 
and the construction of their cells, than the collection 
which they have already made. Their prudence directs 
them to collect another sort of matter, which they need 
to keep the cold out of their hives ; this is a glutinous 
substance, which they collect from flowers and bitter 
plants, and which they employ in stopping up closely 
every crevice in their hives. Their economy may be 
seen even in the smallest matters. They waste nothing ; 
and that which they need not at present they reserve for 
the future. Those who have carefully examined them 
assure us, that when in winter they uncover their cells to 
come at the honey, they carry off the wax with which 
they were closed, and lay it up for future use. 

Among quadrupeds, the hamster and field-mouse lay 
up provision for winter; and in harvest-time carry a 
quantity of grain into their subterraneous dwellings. 
Among birds, magpies and jays gather heaps of acorns 
in autumn, and keep them for winter in hollow trees. 
*As to those animals which sleep during the winter, they 
make no provision ; this to them would be useless. But 
the others not only provide for the present, but also for 
the future. Each in the time of abundance provides 
against the time of want. And it has never been known 



that the provisions which they then collected were in- 
sufficient for their winter's maintenance. 

These economic cares cannot be considered as the 
fruit of reflection ; as this would be to attribute to them 
much more intelligence than they really possess. It is 
probable, that they only think of the present, and of 
what affects their senses, either in an agreeable or dis- 
agreeable manner. And if the present influences them 
in reference to the future, this is without design, and 
without their having any knowledge of what they do. 
How can we suppose that there can be any foresight or 
reflection in this instinct of animals, seeing they hare ex- 
perience of the vicissitudes of seasons, and the nature of 
winter ; and that, having no idea of the measure of time, 
it is impossible for them to know when the winter will 
come, or how long it will last. Nor can we attribute 
to them any reasoning, or ideas concerning the future ; 
nor imagine that they seek the means of subsistence 
during the severe season from reflection, seeing they ever 
act in the same way, without any variation ; and that each 
species follows constantly and naturally the same method 
without having been previously taught it. 

When, for example, the working bees continue to 
collect that honey and wax with which they fill their 
hives, as long as the season will permit them, it is not 
because they foresee that a time will come in which they 
shall not be able to collect any ; such foresight cannot 
be attributed to them; how can creatures which have 
only sensual perceptions judge of futurity ? But every- 
thing has been so ordered that the bees find provision 
made, notwithstanding they made the collection without 
design. They are led by Providence to gather wax and 
honey ; they labour at this during the fine weather, and 
when winter comes they find their magazines full. These 
animals, as well as all others, act blindly, and almost 
mechanically, without reflection or design ; although they 
appear to conduct themselves according to the wisest and 
most prudential rules. Therefore, being destitute of 
reason, this wise economy, these acts of apparent fore- 
sight and reflection, which we remark in them, must be 
produced by a superior intelligence who has thought of 


and cares for them, and whose views they fulfil without 
knowing it.- 

In this consists part of our superiority over the brute 
creation. We can present the past and the future to our 
minds ; we can act from reflection, and form plans ; we 
can determine from motives, and choose what is most 
suitable. But how necessary is it that we should make 
a proper use of these prerogatives ! Informed as we 
are of the great revolutions which await us, and being 
enabled to look forward to the winter of our life, should 
we not lay up a good store of well-founded hopes and 
consolations, which might render our latter days not only 
supportable but happy ? No sight can be more afflict- 
ing than to see an old man, who in the days of his 
youth had lived without care or foresight, and who, now 
that his winter is come, is destitute of all comfort ; and 
whose state is more humiliating because he has deserved 
it. Let us not act in this inconsiderate manner; but 
henceforth, after the example of a wise economist, let 
us ever have the future before our eyes, and prepare for 
it. Let us, without delay, adopt those measures which 
may secure our comfort in old age, and our happiness to 
eternity ! 



Let us reflect on the blessings which God grants us 
in this rigorous season. The cold and frost retain many 
noxious vapours in the upper regions of the atmosphere, 
and purify the air. Far from being injurious to the 
health of men, they often confirm it, and preserve our 
humours from that putrefaction which continual heat 
would infallibly produce. If the exhalations and vapours 
which collect in the atmosphere were always to fall 
down in rain, the earth would be too much soaked and 
softened ; the roads would be impassable ; our bodies 
would be filled with humours ; their different parts would 
be too much dilated and relaxed; whereas the cold braces 
and strengthens them, and promotes the circulation of 


the blood. In very hot countries, and in those where 
the earth is too wet during the winter, obstinate and 
mortal diseases are more frequent than elsewhere. Tra- 
vellers assure us that in Greenland, where the country 
is covered with mountains of ice, and where, during the 
winter, the days are but four or five hours long, the 
atmosphere is very wholesome, pure, and light ; and, 
excepting some slight coughs and affections of the eyes 
(occasioned partly by the quality of their food), maladies 
common in Europe are seldom to be met with among 
them. It is certain that the constitution of the human 
body varies according to the difference of climates; so 
that the inhabitants of the northern countries have a 
constitution adapted to the excessive cold which continu- 
ally prevails there, and their bodies are generally healthy 
and robust. Even as man, though the love of activity and 
labour be necessary for him, is nevertheless glad to sus- 
pend his labours every evening, that he may taste the 
sweets of repose, and spend a part of his time different 
from that in which he was during the day ; even so our 
nature accommodates itself to the variations of the seasons, 
and is pleased with this variation, because it contributes 
to our comfort and well-being. 

At present, our gardens and fields are covered with 
snow; and they repose under this covering; and it is 
necessary to preserve them from the injuries of the cold, 
to shelter the seed from the impetuosity of the winds, 
and to prevent it from rotting. Our fields had need of 
rest, after having produced, during the fine weather, all 
those fruits on which we subsist during the winter. In 
this, let us acknowledge the wise bounty of God ; if 
our present support had not been provided for us, if in 
this severe season we were obliged to till t!7e earth, our 
complaints would have some ground ; but he has re- 
plenished our stores with a sufficiency for our present 
necessities, and we enjoy that rest which is suitable to 
the season. 

How tenderly does Providence care for us in these 
days of winter ! God has endued man with that in- 
dustry which they require to defend themselves from 
the cold and frost. Their inventive minds have led them 
to find out an artificial fire, by means of which they may 


enjoy in their chambers some of the comforts of summer. 
The care of Providence is not less manifest in the yearly 
produce of wood, and its astonishing increase, than in 
the fertility of our fields. Besides, we have at this 
season a multitude of creatures at our command, which 
make it tolerable. The colder the country is, the more 
those useful animals are multiplied in it whose fur is 
designed to keep us warm. Is it not evident that the 
Divine Wisdom has foreseen the wants of different 
countries ; and that he has provided for them by placing 
animals there which could live nowhere else ? Our 
beasts of burden bring us the necessary provision ; and 
it is worthy of remark, that our cattle are most prolific 
when we stand most in need of them. 

Winter does not materially interrupt trade or com- 
merce. Rivers in many places are frozen over ; and are 
as solid as brass ; the surface being covered with snow, 
travelling is facilitated ; and thus a new means of inter- 
course is opened among men. Men are not condemned 
to inaction or idleness during this season ; for, if they 
are obliged to suspend the labours of the field, they have 
a thousand ways of employing themselves usefully in 
domestic life. The repose of nature invites them to 
reflect on themselves. Their attention, it is true, can be 
no longer fixed on the beauties which spring and summer 
present to their eyes ; but their minds may be so much 
the more at liberty to reflect even in the darkness of the 
night on the instability of all earthly things ; and these 
reflections may lead man to consecrate himself unreserv- 
edly to the service of that Supreme Being who never 
changes, and to prepare for eternity. Man may now 
have leisure, in a quiet retreat, to cultivate his under- 
standing, study his own heart, correct his errors, and 
acquire power from his Maker to walk uprightly. How 
wise should we be if we made so good a use of this 
season ! If, during the winter, we can neither cultivate 
our gardens, reap our fields, nor gather in new fruits, we 
may at least cultivate our souls, and endeavour to render 
ourselves useful to our neighbour. However severe the 
season may be, it may nevertheless furnish us with abun- 
dant reason to bless God, to acknowledge his benefits, 
and to trust in him. 


How inexcusable must our ingratitude be, if, wholly 
taken up with the inconveniences of winter, we forget 
the advantages and blessings which God condescends to 
give us in this season ! Let these considerations awaken 
our minds to more equitable sentiments, and excite us 
to celebrate the loving-kindness of the Lord at all times, 
and in all seasons. 



Whether we consider the universe collectively, or 
examine its different component parts, we shall always 
find sufficient motives to lead us to admire the power 
and wisdom of the Creator. It is true that we know 
things very imperfectly ; and that in most cases we can 
scarcely go beyond conjecture and probability ; but this 
is enough to cause us to acknowledge the greatness of 
God on the one hand, and the weakness of our reason 
on the other. Probably, all the elements are of the same 
nature, and may be reduced to one only ; perhaps they 
are so combined as to form but one whole ; but it would 
be very difficult to consider the elements in this collective 
point of view ; it is therefore necessary to divide them 
in our minds, and consider the primitive constituent 
parts of bodies separately. 

What various and admirable properties has the air 
which we every moment respire ! With what force does 
it divide and dissolve all sorts of substances, partaking 
of the qualities of each ! Innumerable vapours and ex- 
halations, and thousands of different odours ; so many 
volatile salts, alkalies, and acids ; so many oils and in- 
flammable spirits, which blend and unite with it, render 
it sometimes noxious, but in general wholesome and 
good. These foreign matters with which the air is laden, 
its elasticity, the property it has of being rarefied or 
condensed, and of reassuming its natural state, produce 
those agitations in the atmosphere, those meteors which 
disperse noxious vapours, which purify the earth, and 
promote the vegetation of plants. And though the 


effects of the air may be sometimes terrible, they are 
nevertheless absolutely necessary to prevent the earth 
from becoming a frightful desert. But there are in this 
element, as well as in all the works of the Lord, im- 
penetrable mysteries. Who, for instance, can explain 
how the particles of air, which are so extremely fine as 
not to be visible, are, notwithstanding, the very means 
by which objects become visible to us ? What can be 
more astonishing than that equilibrium between the out- 
ward air and that which is within us ? A balance on 
which our very life depends ! And who can sufficiently 
admire this, that one and the same element should be 
the medium by which sounds, odours, and light should 
be transmitted ? 

• There is great conformity between air and water, and 
its properties and effects are not less various nor less 
wonderful. How many different qualities has God given 
to this element! All the abundance and salubrity of 
the air, all the fertility of the earth, and all the warmth 
of the fire, could not save us from perishing, were we 
destitute of water. How many changes is it susceptible 
of! Who has given it the property of being dilated, 
divided, and rarefied, so that it can ascend the height of 
a league in the atmosphere, form itself into fogs and 
clouds, and continue suspended there ? Who has given 
it power to penetrate plants, to transpire from them 
through insensible pores, and diffuse itself over our 
fields and vallies in the form of a refreshing dew ? How 
astonishing is that property which it has of becoming 
sometimes lighter than air (although a mass of water be 
nearly 900 times heavier than an equal volume of air) ; 
of resuming afterwards its natural weight ; of attaching 
itself to all sorts of bodies ; of dissolving the most com- 
pact substances ; and of uniting itself even with fire ' 

Of all the elements, we know least of fire ; it is too 
subtile for our eyes; but its virtues, properties, and 
effects are sensible enough. Whether the essence of 
fire consist in motion only, or in the formation of what 
are called inflammable particles ; or that it is a simple 
substance, different in its nature from all other corporeal 
things (which a number of experiments seem to render 
very probable), it is nevertheless certain, that its prodi- 


gious abundance, its utility, and its wonderful effects 
deserve our utmost attention. There is no body, how- 
ever cold, but contains fiery particles, which become 
sensible when excited by violent friction. Fire exists 
everywhere. Its presence is universal ; it is found in 
the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and in the 
earth that supports us. It enters into the composition 
of all bodies ; it pervades their smallest pores ; it unites 
itself intimately with them ; it moves with them from 
place to place; and however enveloped, however con- 
fined, it fails not to make itself evident at last. With 
what force does it dilate the surrounding air ; whilst the 
air in its turn nourishes the fire, and renders it more 
active and violent. Fire gives water its fluidity, the 
earth its fertility, health to man, and life to all animals. 

Earth, when in a pure state, is distinguished from all 
other substances, by having neither taste nor smell; by 
being insoluble both in water and spirits of wine, and 
by being the most friable of all bodies. At first sight it 
appears very different from all the other elements ; never- 
theless it has so many conformities to them, that there 
have been philosophers who believed that water is 
nothing but earth saturated and dissolved, and that earth 
is water thickened and condensed. According to these, 
the water continually diminishes on our globe, and gra- 
dually forms compact bodies ; because that formerly our 
planet was only a wet and fluid mass, and was in more 
ancient times nothing but water. 

All the elements which we have mentioned are abso- 
lutely necessary to our existence and preservation ; and 
there is none of them but may fill us with admiratioD, 
when we reflect on its wonderful properties, and on the 
numerous and diversified effects which it produces. 
With how many properties, different from each other, 
has God endued his works ! How many agents, in hea- 
ven and on earth, are continually employed for the pre- 
servation of the universe in general and of each crea- 
ture in particular ! How many revolutions and pheno- 
mena are produced by the mere combination of the 
elements! It would be more easy to reckon up the 
works of God than the multiplied forces which are still 
in action. But how great must that Power be from 


which all these proceed ! They all depend on the will 
of the wise and almighty Creator. He has formed the 
whole, and impressed on each its constant, uniform, and 
heneficial motion. It is God who maintains the ele- 
ments in that equilibrium to which the world owes its 
preservation. And to this God be glory for ever and 
ever ! * 

* I leave the above paper as I found it, but shall present the 
reader with a more philosophical account of air, earth, fire, and 
water, called the four elements by ancient philosophers. 

Air. — Its properties are fluidity, elasticity, expansibility, and 
^A square foot of the earth's surface sustains a weight of 2160 
pounds of atmospheric air, and a column of air of one inch square 
weighs about fifteen pounds. 

Atmospheric air is a compound : in one hundred measures of it 
there are 21 parts of oxygen gas, 79 of nitrogen gas ; and in every 
thousand measures about one of carbonic acid gas. The first was 
formerly termed vital air, the second azotic gas. 

Earth. — Formerly earth was considered a simple substance, and 
hence called one of the four elements ; but modern chemistry has 
ascertained the existence of nine different earths : silica, alumina, 
zirconia, glucina, yttria, barytes, strontites, lime, and magnesia. 
The four last are termed alkaline earths. All the earths are incom- 
bustible bodies, and in general unalterable in the fire. 

Fire. — This is now generally termed caloric ; it produces what 
is called warmth, heat, and fire. The latter is the principle of 
caloric, acting on combustible substances, in the process which is 
commonly termed combustion ; in which a certain product is 
formed, and what escapes is what we call fire. 

There are six sources of caloric. It may be derived from the 
sun, by combustion ; it may be obtained by percussion, by friction, 
by the mixture of different substances, and by means of electricity 
and galvanism. 

The reader may acquire a tolerably correct notion of it by this 
circumstance : Place the hand upon a body above your own tempe- 
rature, and you have the sensation of heat ; place it on one below 
that temperature, and you have the sensation of cold. In the first 
case, the hotter body imparted a portion of its caloric to the hand ; 
in the latter case, the hand gave out a portion of its caloric to the 
colder body. The abstraction of a portion of the caloric gave the 
sensation of cold ; the imparting of it in the first case gave that of 

Caloric always tends to equalize the temperature of all bodies 
within its sphere. Coldness always supposes the abstraction of a 
measure of the natural degree of caloric belonging to a particular 



The sun is a principal cause of most of the pheno- 
mena which take place on the earth. He is the constant 
source of that light which is so plentifully diffused over 
our globe. This light of the sun is the most subtile fire ; 
it penetrates all bodies ; and when in sufficient quantity, 
it puts all their parts into motion, attenuates, decom- 
poses, and dissolves those that are solid, rarefies those 
that are fluid, and thus adapts them to an infinity of 
motions. Is it not evident, that on these various opera- 
tions of the sun on bodies all the phenomena and all 
the revolutions of the globe depend, even in the smallest 
circumstances? When the strength of the sun's light 
increases, i. e., when his rays fall less obliquely on us, 
and in a greater quantity on a given space, and that 
they continue longer each day, as is the case in summer ; 
all this must necessarily produce the most considerable 
changes, not only in the atmosphere, but also on the 

body : heat supposes an accumulation of this principle, in an 
unnatural degree. Warmth is the medium between the two ex- 

Water. — This is a compound, not a simple elementary body. 
It is composed of two gases, oxygen and hydrogen : in 100 parts 
of water there are 88 parts, by weight, of oxygen, and 12 of hy- 
drogen. But by measure it is constituted of 2 parts of hydrogen 
and 1 of oxygen. Therefore, says Parks, if water be considered 
to be formed of an atom of oxygen and an atom of hydrogen, the 
size of the atom of hydrogen must be to that of the oxygen as 
2 to 1 , though its weight, when compared with the atom of oxygen, 
be as 1 to 7g. 

Water is found in four different states : solid, or ice ; liquid, or 
water ; vapour, or steam ; and in a state of composition with other 
bodies : in this state it enters into the composition of some of the 
most precious gems. 

Water may be decomposed by the galvanic apparatus, and the 
whole converted into two dry airs or gases ; pass the electric spark 
through these, and they will in an instant be re-converted into 
water. — A. C. 


surface of the earth. And when the rays fall more 
obliquely on a given space, and are consequently weaker, 
and in less quantity, and, the days being shorter, their 
action is not prolonged, as is the case in winter ; what a 
change takes place in the earth, and what different phe- 
nomena do we observe in the atmosphere ! What gra- 
dual changes do we perceive, when, from the remote 
sign of Capricorn, the sun continues to approach the 
equinoctial line, till in spring the days and nights become 
equal. And how many new phenomena appear, when 
this luminous and active globe returns in summer from 
the tropic of Cancer towards the line, till the days and 
nights become again equal in autumn, and the sun re- 
moves from our zenith. 

- It is on the distance of this luminary that all the 
variations depend which we observe in the vegetation of 
plants, in the internal constitution of bodies in all cli- 
mates and in all seasons. Hence each climate and each 
season has plants and animals peculiar to itself; hence 
the progress of vegetation is more or less rapid, and the 
productions of nature subsist a longer or shorter space of 
time. But it would be impossible to describe the various 
effects of the sun on the earth. All the changes and 
revolutions which take place on our globe have their 
principle in the influence of the sun ; for on him princi- 
pally the different degrees of heat and cold depend ; I 
say principally, for the nature of the soil, the different 
combinations which exist in one country more than in 
another, mountains of a greater or less height, and their 
different position, may also contribute something towards 
a country's being more or less cold, and more or less 
subject to rain, to wind, and to the other variations of 
the atmosphere. But it is incontestable, that these ac- 
cessary causes are not sufficient to produce the effects 
which we observe in different places and in different 
times; for these effects could not exist if the heat of 
the sun did not act in the manner it does. And were 
the degrees and manner of its operation changed, the 
effects also would change in the same proportion. 

It requires but very little attention to be convinced of 
the numerous and sensible effects of which the sun is 
the prime cause ; his influence appears daily. Some- 


times he rarefies, and sometimes condenses the air ; 
sometimes he raises vapours and fogs, and sometimes 
condenses them, in order to form them into meteors, or 
send them down in rain. It is the sun which causes 
the sap to ascend in vegetahles, which causes the leaves 
and hlossoms to shoot, which produces tinges, and ripens 
the fruit. The sun animates all nature. It is the source 
of that vivifying warmth, which gives to Organized 
bodies the power of unfolding themselves, and of growing 
to perfection. It penetrates into the depths of the earth, 
where it is supposed to assist in the aggregation of me- 
tallic particles, and gives life to animals. It penetrates 
mountains and rocks, and its influence reaches even to 
the depths of the sea. This alone must be sufficient to 
convince us of the power of our Creator. But if we 
consider with how much art God has drawn a multitude 
of great effects out of one and the same instrument, and 
has caused the heat of the sun to produce so many phe- 
nomena in nature, we shall be more and more sensibly 
persuaded that nothing less than infinite wisdom, joined 
to unlimited power, could have produced so many mira- 
cles. Would men deserve to be enlightened, warmed, 
and cheered by the sun, if in the salutary influences of 
this beneficent globe they did not acknowledge the 
glorious perfections of the Supreme Being ; if they did 
not admire his greatness and goodness ; and if they did 
not adore him with sentiments of the most profound 
veneration and respect ? 



How different are these cold rains, which fall at pre- 
sent, from the warm showers which in summer embel- 
lished and fertilized the earth ! This change gives a 
melancholy aspect to nature. The sun is veiled, and the 
whole sky appears to be but one immense cloud. We 
cannot see to any great distance; a gloomy obscurity 
surrounds us ; and the tempest is continually lowering. 
At last the clouds empty themselves and deluge the 


fields; the atmosphere seems an inexhaustible reservoir 
of water; rivers and brooks are swelled up, overflow 
their banks, and lay fields and meadows under water. 

However disagreeable and inconvenient this weather 
may appear to us, we must acknowledge it is for wise 
and kind purposes. The earth, in a manner exhausted 
by its fruitfulness, requires a renovation of its strength ; 
and in order to this, it is not only necessary that it 
should rest, but that it should be also sufficiently moist- 
ened. The rain waters and revives the dry, thirsty land. 
The wet soaks into it, and reaches down to the lowest 
roots of plants. The dry leaves, which covered the earth, 
rot, and become excellent manure. The heavy winter 
rains fill the rivers anew, and furnish water for springs 
and fountains. Nature is never idle. It continues to 
labour, though its activity is sometimes concealed. The 
clouds, by continually pouring down rain or snow, pre- 
pare for the fertility of the coming year, and for the riches 
of summer. And when the heat of the sun restores the 
dry season, the abundant springs which the winter rains 
had formed diffuse their waters abroad, refresh the fields 
and vallies, and adorn them with fresh verdure. Thus 
the wise Creator prepares for the future ; and that which 
appears to us inconvenient, and even destructive, is in 
his hand the germ of the beauties and abundance which 
are lavished on us in spring and summer. The blessings 
which God grants us by these means are as innumerable 
as the drops which fall from the clouds; and though 
blind and ungrateful man continue to murmur, when he 
should rejoice and adore, yet the eternal and unchange- 
able wisdom continues to fulfil its beneficent designs. 
Our preservation is, therefore, the chief end which God 
proposes in watering the earth with these rains. But 
the divine wisdom knows how to combine various de- 
signs subordinate to each other; and from the happy 
combination of these designs, the order and good of the 
universe result. Thus, animals which exist, not only for 
the use of man, but for themselves, must also be fed and 
supported ; for them, as well as for us, the rains descend 
from the clouds, and render the earth fruitful. 

But here, as in all other things, we see the wisest 
economy. All the vapours and exhalations which daily 


arise from terrestrial bodies, are collected and suspended 
in the atmosphere ; which in due time restores them to 
the earth, -either in the form of small drops, of heavy 
showers, or in flakes of snow, according to its different 
necessities ; but this is always done with economy, and 
without suffering liberality to degenerate into prodigality. 
Everything becomes serviceable ; dews, which are always 
imperceptible to us, light fogs, and mists, all contribute 
to fertilize the earth. But in vain would the vapours 
arise, in vain would the clouds be formed, if nature had 
not provided the winds to shake and disperse them on 
all hands ; to convey them from one place to another, to 
water the ground where it requires it. Were not this 
the case, some districts would be deluged with perpetual 
rains, and others would experience all the horrors of 
drought; trees, plants, grass, and com must perish, if 
the winds did not drive away the clouds, and mark out 
the places on which they were to pour out their rains. 
God says to the snow, Be thou upon the earth, and it 
descends in flakes ; and when he commands the winter's 
rain to fall, it spreads itself over the face of the field. 

However inconvenient the rains of winter may appear, 
or the uncomfortable temperature of this season, they 
are nevertheless absolutely indispensable ; so also are the 
dark and gloomy days of our lives. In order that we 
may bring forth all the fruit of good works, it is not 
necessary that the sun of prosperity should shine unin- 
terruptedly upon us. We must meet with trials and 
afllictions. Let us receive adversity from the hand of 
God with resignation; as we may be fully convinced, 
that all his dispensations are ordered by infinite wisdom 
and goodness. 



The prodigious distance of the heavenly bodies from 
our globe, and the little connexion they have with it, 
will not permit us to believe that they can have any 
sensible influence upon it. Nevertheless, many super- 


stitious people give credit to such influences, and say 
that continual emanations proceed from the stars and 
planets, which operate, not only on the atmosphere, but 
on all terrestrial bodies. But what are these emana- 
tions ? If by these they mean the proper light of the 
stars, or the light of the sun reflected from the planets, 
it comes evidently to very little, as it is much less than 
what comes to us from the moon alone. But as the 
light of the moon has no manner of influence upon the 
earth or the atmosphere, consequently the much feebler 
light of the planets and stars can have none. But if it 
be supposed that other matter emanates from the stars, 
this supposition is not only void of all foundation, but 
is evidently false; for if there were real emanations, 
they must, when collected in the focus of a burning- 
glass, produce some alteration, and some sensible change 
in terrestrial bodies ; but this is contradicted by expe- 
rience. It therefore follows, that no other matter pro- 
ceeds from these heavenly bodies than that faint light 
which they send to us; or if any other emanations 
proceed from them, they must be such as pass through 
terrestrial bodies, without producing the smallest de- 
rangement in their parts. Thus the astrologers, whether 
they deceive themselves, or wish to impose upon others, 
deserve nothing but contempt, when they inform us of 
the benign influence of Jupiter, the malignant influence 
of Saturn, the wit-inspiring influence of Mercury, the 
warlike disposition produced by Mars, and the amorous 
influence of Venus. 

The planets not only cannot produce any of those par- 
ticular effects, which the astrologers attribute to them, 
but taken even collectively they have no influence. But 
what shall we say of the rain-bringing Pleiades, the 
tempestuous Orion, the melancholy Hyades, the setting of 
Arcturus, and the rising of Capricorn, all of which presage 
hail and tempests ? What influence can the constella- 
tion Taurus have on pease, beans, and such like ; or the 
star Sirius on mad-dogs? "What relation can Scorpio 
have with the productions of harvest ? But if the rising 
and setting of the different constellations were observed 
only in order to know the proper times for the different 
operations of agriculture, and not as the causes of natural 


things, this might be pardoned. In ancient times, the 
beginning, middle, and end of each season were not 
marked by months, but by the rising and setting of stars, 
in conjunction with the sun ; or by immersion in and 
emersion from the rays of that luminary. Hence the 
vulgar opinion, that the different aspects of these stars 
produce the effects which, in reality, can only be attri- 
buted to the seasons, and consequently to'the sun. Orion 
rises in autumn, and sets in winter ; this has made some 
people think that he is the author of tempests ; but it is 
not he who raises them, it is the autumn and winter ■ and 
his rising and setting only mark the time of those seasons. 
When the dog-star rises with our sun, it is excessively 
hot in our zone ; but this star is not the cause of it, the 
heat comes from our sun, who is then in his greatest 
elevation. I say our sun, for in the opposite zone, when 
the dog-star rises with the sun, it is so very cold as to 
benumb animals, and cover the rivers with ice. There- 
fore, the inhabitants of the southern countries, far from 
considering the dog-star as the cause of heat, consider it 
as the cause of cold. It is exactly the same with the 
Pleiades, which are supposed to be the cause of rain ; 
and it is the same with all the other constellations, to 
which effects have been attributed, which, in reality, 
belong to the seasons, when these stars rise and set. 

If, then, the planets and fixed stars have no part in the 
temperature and natural revolutions of our globe, they 
can have no influence over human actions. The happi- 
ness and misery of individuals, and of whole nations, 
depend partly on their natural talents and passions, and 
partly on the political constitution of those states, and 
partly on the union of certain circumstances, natural 
and moral ; but in all these the stars have no influence ; 
and had they any we should be led to doubt the empire 
of providence, and to believe that the world was not 
governed by an infinitely wise, just, good, and powerful 
Being. And who would wish to inhabit a globe, the 
revolutions of which depended on blind chance, or the 
influence of the stars, which must be fatal to our natural 
and moral state ? 

Let us, therefore, leave to the superstitious a science 
inimical to our repose, and so degrading to the human 


mind ; and let us ever understand astrology to be only 
at the bottom a miserable perversion of astronomy. It 
is a sufficient foundation for our peace, that we live under 
the empire of a wise, just, and gracious Parent, who 
is the sole arbiter of our lot, who directs all the events 
of our life ; and who is the Governor, Preserver, and 
regulator of the sun, the moon, the planets, and the 
stars ! 



Among the northern constellations there is none so 
remarkable as that which is nearest to the pole, and 
which is termed the Little Bear. The last star of its tail 
is less than two degrees distant from the pole ; on this 
account it is called the polar star. It is easy to distin- 
guish this from the stars near it, because it scarcely 
appears to change its position ; and is always seen in the 
same point of the heavens. It appears, indeed, to re- 
volve round the pole ; but its motion is so slow, and the 
circle which it describes so small, that it is scarcely per- 
ceptible. Its situation, therefore, can be very little varied ; 
and as it is seen in all seasons of the year, in the same 
point of the firmament, it becomes a sure guide to the 
mariner, particularly in the open seas. Before the dis- 
covery of the magnet, sailors had no surer guide than 
the polar star ; and even now, when the sky is serene, 
they may depend more confidently on this star than on 
the magnetic needle. 

The advantages which we derive from the polar star 
may naturally lead us to useful reflections. What a sure 
moral guide is that inestimable gift of God, viz., his 
word ; and especially his gospel, which shows us the 
course we should steer through the stormy sea of this 
world, and through the darkness with which we are 
encompassed ! Without this faithful guide we should 
wander continually, and never find the path which leads 
to God and heavenly glory. If this divine word were 

VOL. II. rr 


not as a lamp to go before us, and a light which points 
out the path we should take, we should be liable to err here 
below ;- sometimes tormented with fear, at other times 
entertaining some feeble hope, but always in doubt and 
uncertainty. It is in divine Revelation alone that we 
find a sure and invariable rule, according to which we 
may pursue the race that is set before us with courage, 
and finish it with joy. Let us ever' follow this sure 
guide, which cannot lead us astray. Let us attend to it 
as the pilot attends to the pole star ; and let us keep it 
continually in sight, that we may "hot err. With its 
assistance, we shall shun all dangers, be preserved from 
shipwreck, and at last arrive in that blessed haven where 
we shall rest from our labours ; and where we shall enjoy 
a happiness which nothing can disturb. 

What we have said concerning the polar star should 
lead us to admire the goodness of God, who, by the 
situation and course of the stars, gives us a sure know- 
ledge of times, places, and the, different points of the 
heavens. An astronomer, though in an unknown country, 
can, by means of the stars, tell where he is, and know 
the month, day, and hour, as exactly as if he consulted 
the most correct time-piece. If, for instance, we only 
take notice that the stars come every day four minutes 
sooner to the place where they were the preceding even- 
ing, we know, consequently, that this will amount to 
two hours in a month. Thus, the star which we noticed 
this evening in a certain point of the heavens at ten 
o'clock, we shall see, if we are on the same spot, the 
twentieth of January, in the same point of the heavens, 
precisely at eight o'clock. The star which we observe 
this day at midnight exactly over our heads, will, in the 
space of a year, come to the same point again. In this 
we may see the tender concerti of God for all the in- 
habitants of the earth. How much to be pitied would 
many people be, who have neither clocks, watches, nor 
geographical charts, if they could not supply this defect 
by the observation of the stars ! If we consider our- 
selves in the place of those people, this meditation will 
not appear a matter of indifference ; for we must be 
devoid of every humane and generous sentiment if objects 


which do not immediately concern ourselves, but which 
interest so many of our brethren, should appear unworthy 
of our attention. 

Let us raise our souls in gratitude to our compassionate 
Father, the Creator of all the heavenly host. The use 
that the stars are of in this respect to man is certainly 
one of the smallest advantages which result from the 
existence of these celestial bodies ; and yet this benefit 
alone merits our praise and thanksgiving. "" The heavens 
are the work of thy hand ; thou hast marshalled all their 
hosts. Thou hast extended them widely as a curtain, 
and made them the ceiling of thy palace. The highest 
heaven is thy throne, and thou hast hung out the moon 
and stars to illuminate our nights." 



The effects of air, when inclosed in bodies, are very 
astonishing. Every body knows what is the consequence 
of fluids freezing. Water in this state generally breaks 
the vessels in whieh it was inclosed. A musket filled 
with water, if the muzzle be hermetically sealed, bursts 
with great violence in excessive cold. This, at first view, 
appears incomprehensible; we know that water is not 
fluid of itself, but becomes so by means of the principle 
of heat, which penetrates every part; and that, con- 
sequently, it becomes a solid mass when it is deprived 
of the particles of this matter which were included jin 
it, or when its fluidity ceases through excessive cold. It 
seems then that the particles of water must be condensed, 
and approach each other more closely; and that thus 
frozen bodies should occupy less space than they did 
before. Yet they certainly expand while in a freezing 
state, and their size is considerably increased ; without 
which it would be impossible for vessels containing frozen 
fluids to burst. Besides, how could ice swim if it did 
not increase in bulk, and were not consequently lighter 
than water ? 

u 2 


But what can be the cause of this effect ? The in- 
ternal air ; for it is impossible that it could be produced 
by any external cause. It cannot be the cold, for this is 
no real being nor positive quality, and, properly speak- 
ing, cannot penetrate bodies ; and it is as certain that heat 
is not the cause of this phenomenon. The air cannot 
insinuate itself into vessels of metal or glass, sealed 
hermetically ; and yet ice forms within them. We must 
therefore seek the cause in that internal air contained in 
the water. To be convinced of this, we have only to 
observe the water as soon as it begins to freeze. Scarcely 
is the first pellicle of ice formed on it, before the water 
begins to be agitated, and a number of air bubbles ascend. 
Often this upper coat of ice rises in the middle and splits, 
and the water springs up through the cleft, dashes against 
the sides of the vessels, and in running down freezes. 
Hence it is, that towards the middle of the surface the 
water appears elevated and convex. All this is the 
effect of the internal air ; an effect that could not take 
place, or would at least appear in a much less degree, if 
the air were exhausted as much as possible from the 
water before it began to freeze. 

On this ground, it is easy to explain a number of very 
singular phenomena. An intense cold is very injurious 
to vegetables. We know that the sap circulates in all 
plants, which, though it thickens a little in autumn and 
winter, nevertheless continues fluid. Intense cold con- 
verts this fluid into ice, and consequently enlarges its 
mass ; and this cannot take place without causing many 
of the fibres and tubes to burst. Now, when this takes 
place, it is manifest that when the sap becomes rarefied 
in spring, it cannot circulate properly; just as the cir- 
culation of the blood must be stopped in an animal whose 
veins are cut. Thus, the growth of the plant is not only 
injured, but it dies, because the nutritive juice no longer 
circulates in its vessels. Let us consider, however, that 
this very cold, which is so prejudicial to the plants, 
is useful to the earth. A field tilled before winter is 
better fitted to receive the autumnal rains, which pene- 
trate deeply into it. Frost succeeds; the earthy .par- 
ticles become dilated, and separate from each other; 

MUSIC. 437 

and the thaw in spring completes the softening of the 
earth, rendering it light, moveable, and better adapted to 
receive the genial influences of the sun in fine weather. 

Enough has been said to convince us of the power of 
the air ; and of that expansive force which is productive 
of so many advantages to our globe. The property this 
element has of condensing and rarefying so wonderfully, 
is the cause of the greatest revolutions in the world. It is 
but in very few cases that the power of this fluid can 
become injurious ; and even then the evil that it does is 
compensated with vastly superior advantages. But we 
must acknowledge that in this, as well as in a multitude 
of other phenomena of nature, there >are many things 
which we cannot satisfactorily explain. What we know 
of* the nature, properties, and effects of air, depends 
much on probable conjectures, which may be illustrated 
and verified in future times. Probably, those who may 
immediately follow us will discover that on many points 
we have formed false and precipitate judgments. How 
careful should we therefore be, that when we contem- 
plate the works of God in nature, we should do it in a 
spirit of humility and self-diffidence ; always remember- 
ing the weakness of the human understanding, and the 
uncertainty of our opinions and systems. Presumption 
is inexcusable in every science ; but it is absolutely 
foolish and ridiculous when the knowledge of nature is 
in question. 



One of the most pure and innocent pleasures which 
we can enjoy, we owe to music. It possesses the power 
of charming our ears, soothing our passions, affecting our 
hearts, and influencing our propensities. How often has 
music dissipated our gloom, quickened the vital spirits, 
and ennobled our sentiments ! An art so pleasing and 
useful well deserves our attention ; and calls upon us to 
employ it to the glory of our beneficent Creator. 

But whence is the impression which music makes on 

438 - DECEMBER 3p£II. 

our ears ? It is an effect of the air, which receives an 
undulatory motion, and which strikes our auditory nerves 
in a variety of ways. WJaen a tight cord is struck, its 
figure is changed ; for its elasticity not only causes it to 
go back to its first situation, but to extend beyond it ; 
and thus it continues to vibrate backward and forward, till 
at last it settles into that state of rest from which it was 
drawn. These vibrations of the string are communicated 
to the air ; which in its turn communicates them to other 
contiguous bodies. Hence it is, that when an organ is 
played on, the strings of a lute, if near, will be put in 
motion, and emit sounds. But whence is the difference 
of sounds ; and how is it that they are either sharp or 
flat ? This cannot be attributed to the quickness of the 
vibrations by which the sound is propagated in the air, 
for a sharp note cannot communicate itself with more 
velocity than a flat one ; nor can it be owing to the 
quantity of air that is put in motion ; for a sound may 
be either flat or sharp, and strong or weak, at the same 
time. The difference must be from the quickness of the 
air's tremulous motion. A sonorous body emits a sharp 
tone, when the vibrations of its parts are very quick ; 
and a flat tone when these vibrations are slow. But how is 
it that certain united sounds are harmonious, and charm 
the ear ; while others are discordant, and put us to pain? 
All that we can say in reply, respecting the physical 
characteristic of concords, is, that they are produced in 
the same key ; whereas in discords, though the sounds 
may be emitted at the same time, yet they do not pro- 
perly unite, and blend together ; which, occasioning a 
double stroke on the auditory nerve, affects the mind in 
an unpleasing manner. 

But of what use would harmony be if we could not 
distinguish it from discord ? Let us praise God, who has 
so disposed the organs of hearing that we can receive 
and distinguish different impressions of sound, and has 
given our souls the faculty of uniting certain ideas to 
certain corporeal sensations. How much gratitude do 
we owe to our God for the many pure and innocent 
pleasures which he has given us to enjoy ! In this point, 
let us testify our gratitude by using music to the glory 
of his name. Let us lift up our hearts to our great 


Benefactor in the most melodious sounds, and celebrate 
his infinite goodness towards us ! 



In the comparison which we are going to make between 
men and other animals, there will be found some things 
which are common to both ; others, in which they have 
the advantage over us; and, lastly, some in which we 
have the advantage over them. 

The principal resemblance between men and brutes is, 
that both are material. We have, like them, life and 
organized bodies, which are produced by generation and 
birth, and supported by food. Both have animal spirits, 
and strength to fulfil the different functions assigned 
them. Both have voluntary motion, the free use of their 
various members, organs of sense, feeling, imagination, 
and memory. By means of the senses, both can feel 
pleasure and pain ; desire some things, and be averse 
from others. Both feel a natural propensity to self-pre- 
servation, and the propagation of their species. Both 
are liable to those general corporeal accidents which the 
connexion and different relation of things, the laws of 
motion, and the structure and organization of their bodies 
may occasion. 

Relative to that pleasure which may result from the 
gratification of the senses, animals have many advantages 
over men. A principal one is, that they do not need so 
much clothing, instruments of defence, and conveniences, 
as men ; and are not obliged to invent, learn, and ex- 
ercise the arts necessary to procure them. 

At their birth, they bring into the world clothes, arms, 
and other necessary things ; or, if anything should be 
wanting, they have only to follow their natural instinct, 
which is sufficient to render them happy. That instinct 
never misleads them ; and whenever their appetites are 
gratified, they are perfectly content ; they desire nothing 
farther, and never run into excess. They are satisfied 
with the present, and ''■take no trouble concerning the 


future ; for there is much reason to believe that animals 
have not the faculty of representing to themselves what 
may happen. A present sensation informs them of their 
wants, and their instinct teaches them how to supply 
them. These means they use with pleasure ; they pro- 
cure them what they wish, and they enjoy what they 
get with satisfaction. They never think of the morrow ; 
they know nothing of inquietude concerning the future ; 
even death itself surprises them, without having been 
foreseen, and without having been the cause of previous 
affliction to them. 

In all these respects the brute has the advantage over 
the man. Man is obliged to meditate, invent, labour, 
exercise himself, and receive instructions, without which 
he must remain in a continual state of childhood ; and 
could scarcely procure himself the necessaries of life. 
His instincts and passions are not sure guides ; on the 
contrary, if he abandon himself to their direction, he is 
sure to be miserable. Reason alone makes the essential 
difference between him and the brute ; supplies what is 
wanting; and in other respects gives him prerogatives 
to which the brute creation can never attain. By means 
of this faculty, he not only acquires necessaries, con- 
veniences, and superfluities, but he can multiply the 
pleasures of sense, can ennoble and render them still 
the more gratifying, as he knows how to govern his de- 
sires by this faculty. His soul tastes pleasures which 
are entirely unknown to brutes ; pleasures which spring 
from science, wisdom, order, religion, and virtue : and 
these pleasures infinitely surpass all those which come 
through the organs of sense; for, first, far from being 
contrary to the true perfection of man, they continually 
increase it. Secondly, they never forsake him ; even 
when his senses are deadened by sickness, old age, or any 
other circumstance, and are become insensible to all 
animal gratifications. Thirdly, they cause him more 
and more to resemble God ; while, on the contrary, the 
more he gives himself up to the pleasures of sense, the 
more he is degraded, and the more he resembles the 
brute. We may add, that the brutes are confined within 
a narrow sphere ; that their desires and propensities are 
but few, and consequently their pleasures are not greatly 


diversified ; whereas man has an infinity of desires ; can 
press everything into his service ; and knows how to 
make every article useful in one way or other. He can 
continually add to the perfection of his nature hy new 
discoveries ; he acquires farther degrees of knowledge ; 
and can make unlimited progress in the path of perfec- 
tion and happiness. But the beasts are constantly con- 
fined within a narrow compass ; neither invent nor perfect 
anything ; continue always at the same point ; and never 
rise by application and exercise above animals of the 
same species. 

We may conclude, that it is reason alone, and its con- 
sequences, which give us the superiority over the brute 
creation; and in this the chief excellence of human 
nature consists. To use our reason, to ennoble the plea- 
sures of sense, to relish intellectual delights, to grow 
continually in wisdom and holiness ; these distinguish 
man from the brutes; this is the point to which he 
should ever direct his attention; this is the end for 
which his Maker formed him. Let it be our grand busi- 
ness, our constant study, to answer this end ; for happy 
we cannot be, but in proportion as we seek what reason 
and revelation proclaim to be useful and good. 



With what a crowd of human creatures must a single 
city be filled, on the great day of resurrection ! What 
prodigious multitudes will be spread over the whole 
earth ! Prodigious, indeed, but not innumerable ; seeing 
each of the dead is known unto the Lord his Judge, and 
the name of each entered in the eternal register. None 
shall be lost ; for all must appear before the judgment- 
seat, and none can escape the notice of the all-seeing 

Let us suppose that Germany began to be peopled 
about 500 years after the general deluge ; that is, about 
3,650 years ago, and that from the foundation of the city 
of Hamburgh at the above time, to the general judg- 



ment, supposing it were to take place in the present year, 
there have only 200 persons been buried annually, taking 
one year with another ; the number of persons would 
amount to 730,000 ! If then a single city could produce 
so many at the day of judgment, how many must the 
whole German Empire produce ! Admitting that Gerr 
many contains 24,000,000 of people, the city of Hami- 
burgh could be reckoned only the three thousandth part 
of the whole. If this be the case, we may suppose on 
the preceding calculation that Germany will then pro- 
duce 2,190,000,000 ! This is a prodigious number un- 
doubtedly ; and yet what is it in comparison of the 
produce of the whole earth, the present number of whose 
inhabitants has been estimated at 1,000,000,000 ! If we 
fix on this number, and apply the same calculation as 
before, the total of those who have died since the above- 
mentioned time, must amount to 912,500,000 ! If we 
now add those who lived before the general deluge, and 
those who died during the 500 years next following, 
which we may estimate at one fourth of the preceding, 
we shall then have a sum total of 1,740,625,000,000! 
Lastly, add all those who shall be found alive at the day 
of judgment, and let us fix the number at no more 
than 1,000,000,000, and the whole amount will be 
1,741,625,000,000 ! 

Let us give, full scope to our imaginations, and figure 
to ourselves, as far as possible, that this prodigious mul- 
titude shall appear, in the last day, before the Judge of 
the universe ; how great must that intelligence be that 
can > scrutinize the most secret thoughts of all the indi- 
viduals of which this vast multitude is composed ; who 
knows exactly all their words, thoughts, and actions ; 
who perfectly remembers the day of their birth, the 
duration of their life upon earth, with the time, manner, 
and circumstances of their death ; who shall be able per- 
fectly to distinguish the scattered atoms of each; sepa- 
rate, collect them, whether their bodies had been reduced 
to ashes, dissolved into millions of particles, or had un- 
dergone innumerable transmutations ! What a work of 
Omnipotence, to collect these scattered atoms, to purify, 
ennoble, and form them into immortal bodies ! 

God has informed us, by divine revelation, that hosts 


of angels shall gather his chosen from the four winds ; 
that the first soiind of the trumpet shall awake the 
hodies of saints that slept, for those who died in Christ 
shall rise first. 1 Cor. xv. 23. What a pleasing employ- 
ment to the ten thousand times ten thousand thousand 
angels, Ps. lxviii. 17 3 to collect their well-beloved brethren, 
and present them to Christ ! And what transporting joy 
must it be for the myriads of blessed spirits, whom God 
hath gathered into his bosom, to find again those bodies 
which they had left behind, pale, ghastly, disfigured hy 
sufferings, mutilated hy acts of violence, or consumed by 
fire — to find them again, I say, clothed with celestial 
beauty and splendour, like those of the holy angels ; as 
light, as strong, and as radiant ! Such bodies shall never 
more be, as they were formerly, hinderances to the spirit ; 
but shall be in every respect adapted to the employments 
of a' state of eternal beatitude. With what transport 
may we figure to ourselves the surprise and ineffable 
sensations of the elect, at the sight of this miraculous 
change ! 



What sentiments of joy, gratitude, and love should 
the Christian feel, who on this day celebrates the na- 
tivity of Christ ! But how great should our surprise be, 
when we reflect on the circumstances which accompanied 
this great event ! We see the Son of Man in the lowest 
state of humiliation ; and this Son of Man is our God ! 
We behold the strong God, the Invisible, by whose word 
the heavens and the earth were made, and by whose 
word they shall be destroyed ; and we see, at the same 
time, a visible being, weak, and clothed in flesh like our 
own ! How wonderful is this union ! The King of 
kings, whom the angels adore, appears in the form of a 
servant ! He is an infant, weak, destitute, shedding 
tears, and lying in a manger! What an astonishing 
humiliation ! Human nature, so limited and corrupt, 
raised by Jesus Christ to an eternal throne of glory ! 


What an astonishing change ! But, can we at all com- 
prehend the greatness of the divine mercy ? Or rather, 
should not the astonishment and admiration with which 
we are inspired when viewing it, be redoubled while re- 
flecting on our unworthiness, and the infinite majesty of 
him who came to our relief ? This is a manifestation of 
love which infinitely surpasses all that we can merit ; a 
love, which exceeds all that we could either hope for or 
conceive ; a love, at the contemplation of which we can 
only admire, adore, and be silent. 

But if our admiration be great, should not our hope 
be equally so ? In the Saviour incarnated, we see the 
glorious sign of the new covenant which God has made 
with man. In this we see how faithful God is to his 
promises, seeing he has given his Son for the life of the 
world. And should we not expect that whatever God 
has promised in his name shall be accomplished with 
the same fidelity ? Jesus Christ would never have ho- 
noured our nature so far, as to have united it so inti- 
mately to himself, had he not designed to pardon our 
iniquities, heal our infirmities, wash out our stains, 
and restore the nature of man to its original purity and 
innocence. What confidence should we therefore have 
in the love of our heavenly Father ! He has already 
given us proofs of an inconceivable love; and will he 
not with Christ freely give us all things ? What can he 
refuse to grant to our earnest prayers, who has already 
given us his most precious gifts, without our having even 
requested them? And may we not have the greatest 
confidence in him who became man for our sakes ? If 
God be in Christ, he will certainly accomplish all that 
he designed by coming into the world. He will put all 
our enemies under his feet ; he will blot out all our ini- 
quities ; and his almighty hand will open the gates of 
heaven for our reception. If we consecrate our souls to 
him, he will snatch us from that abyss of vice in which 
we have been immersed, and give us power to over- 
come the world and sin ; we snail be made new crea- 
tures, holy and glorious like himself. 

Can anything be more just and rational than our 
giving up ourselves on this solemn day to sentiments of 
gratitude and joy ? Can love be repaid but by love ? It 


is true, that the love of God our Saviour towards us is 
inestimable, and that ours must ever be infinitely less 
than his ; but let us exert all the powers he has given, 
and love him with all that fervour with which his grace 
is ready to inspire us. This sincere love, though weak, 
will be pleasing in his sight. The love of Christ will 
induce us to seek in him our happiness and joy ; and 
the contemplation of his mercy will be our most delight- 
ful employ. We shall seek nothing with so much 'fer- 
vour as to keep up a holy communion with him by faith. 
Full of zeal for his glory, we shall avoid and abhor 
everything which might defile our souls, or render them 
displeasing to the Divine Redeemer. Let us dedicate 
our lives to him, and only expect a continuance of his 
fevour while walking according to his holy precepts. 
Yes, blessed Redeemer, to thee alone should we conse- 
crate our bodies and souls ; to thee we should sacrifice 
every wish ! At thy manger we should learn to re- 
nounce ourselves ; to abhor pride; and to suffer, if neces- 
sary, for our neighbour's good, inconvenience, humiliation* 
and distress. 

Such are the sentiments with which those who are 
called Christians ought to celebrate the nativity of 
Christ. Every joyous emotion should have its origin in 
the deepest conviction of the great truths of our reli- 
gion. Let not our admiration be the fruit of ignorance, 
but of an enlightened conviction. To this end, let us 
deeply and seriously reflect on the wonders of divine 
grace ; if not to fathom their depths, yet to get a deeper 
knowledge of their nature and certainty. And if the 
greatness of the wisdom of God, and his immense love, 
astonish and confound us, let them also excite in our 
hearts a profound veneration for him who dwells in the 
heavens, and a humble opinion of our own weakness. 
Let us take heed that our hope be not the effect of a 
blind persuasion. If it be the offspring of unfeigned 
faith, what sweet consolation, what celestial joy, will it 
diffuse through our hearts! Then, assisted by faith's 
victorious power, we shall surmount all the difficulties 
of life ; nothing shall be able to rob us of our joy ; no- 
thing be able to destroy our felicity. Lastly, let not our 
love for Christ be ever separated from the most lively 


gratitude; let us endeavour, incessantly endeavour, to 
offer the sacrifice of a pure heart and holy life to him 
who has done so much for us. " What can we render 
thee, our great Benefactor, for so much love ? Thou 
hast united us to God; thou hast purchased salvation 
and life ! Lord, accept the homage of all we have, and 
all we are! Receive the sacrifice of our bodies and 
spirits, which both belong to thee !" 



At first sight, it seems of little consequence to know 
the place of Christ's nativity; for we should consider 
him as our Redeemer, whatever the circumstances might 
be which attended his mortal life. But, seeing it has 
pleased God to announce beforehand the place where 
the Saviour of the world should be born, it became ne- 
cessary that it should happen precisely in that place; 
and that this should be one of the characteristics whereby 
Jesus Christ should be known to be the true Messiah. 

It is also a matter of small importance to us where, 
we may live, provided we find genuine happiness. 
There is no place on earth, however poor and despica- 
ble, but may have better and more happy inhabitants 
than many of those are who dwell in the largest and 
most celebrated cities. Do we know a single place on 
the whole globe where the works of God do not appear 
under a thousand different forms, and where a person 
may not feel that blessed satisfaction which arises from 
a holy and Christian life ? For an individual, that place 
is preferable to all others where he can get and do 
most good. For a number of people, that place is best 
where they can find the greatest number of wise and 
pious men. Every nation declines in proportion as vir- 
tue and religion lose their influence on the minds of the 
inhabitants. The place where a young man first beheld 
the dawn, and the beauty of renewed nature, and with 
most lively sensations of joy and gratitude adored his 
God, with all the veneration and love his heart was ca- 

place of Christ's xativity. 447 

pable of; the place where a virtuous couple first met and 
got acquainted ; or where two friends gave each other 
the noblest proofs of their most tender affection; the 
village, where one may have himself given or seen the 
most remarkable example of goodness, uprightness, or 
patience ; — such places, I say, must be dear to their 

Bethlehem, according to this rule, was, notwithstand- 
ing its smallness, a most venerable place ; seeing there 
so many pious people had their abode, and that acts of 
peculiar piety had often been performed in it. First, 
the patriarch Jacob stopped some time in it, to erect a 
monument to his well-beloved Rachel. It was at Beth- 
lehem that honest Naomi, and her modest daughter-in- 
law Ruth, gave such proofs of their faith and holiness ; 
and in it Boaz, the generous benefactor, had his abode 
and his possessions. At Bethlehem the humble Jesse 
sojourned, the happy father of so many sons ; the young- 
est of whom rose from the pastoral life to the throne of 
Israel. It was in this country that David formed the 
resolution of building a house for the Lord, and in 
which he showed himself the true shepherd and father 
of his subjects, when at the sight of the destroying 
angel, whose sword spread consternation and death on 
all hands, he made intercession for his people. It was 
in Bethlehem that Zerubbabel the prince was born ; this 
descendant of David, who was the type of that Ruler 
and Shepherd, under whose empire Israel is one day to 
assemble, in order to . enjoy uninterrupted happiness. 
Lastly, in this city the Son of God appeared ; who, by 
his birth, laid the foundation of that salvation, which, 
as Redeemer, he was to purchase by his death for the 
whole world. Thus, in places which from their small- 
ness are entitled to little notice, men sometimes spring 
who become the benefactors of the human race. Often 
an inconsiderable village has given birth to a man, who 
by his wisdom, uprightness, or heroism, has been a bless- 
ing to whole kingdoms. 

It is our business so to live in our cities or villages, 
that the end for which Jesus Christ was born may be 
accomplished in us. It is certain that genuine piety 
would make the most rapid progress in the earth, if, 


everywhere, men endeavoured to give proofs of innocent 
manners and fervent faith, and become models of patience, 
diligence, and uprightness. If our cities furnished a 
greater number of virtuous examples, their influence 
would soon become extended to the inhabitants of the 
country; and in the smallest villages or hamlets we 
should see persons who, like Joseph and Mary, were dis- 
tinguished by their piety, and would attract the respect 
of the wise and good, though living in the depth of 
poverty and abasement. God would shed his blessings 
over the country of these good people; and in some 
generations, might we not hope to see a people formed 
full of the fear of the Lord, and diligently walking in 
his ways ? 

He who has travelled most over the world, who has 
visited cities, the dwelling-places of kings ; and who has 
been a witness of the various crimes committed there — 
has he not cause to be thankful to God, if at last he 
find a town or village, where, in a peaceful cot, encom- 
passed with quiet neighbours, he may consecrate himself 
entirely to the service of God and the good of man, and 
thus arrive at that genuine happiness which flows from 
peace and serenity of soul ? He will not then regret that 
he lives not in places more magnificent indeed, but 
where sensual pleasure spreads all its snares; more su- 
perb, but where vice has its throne ; more rich, but 
where the inhabitants live in forgetfulness of God, and 
the duties they ought to perform. To these he will 
prefer an obscure retreat ; where, sheltered from cutting 
remorse, he may spend his days in tranquillity and 



What a multitude of wants have we the moment we 
are born ! It is with great agony, and through the assist- 
ance of others, that we are brought into the world ; and 
we should have speedily lost the life we began to live, 


had not a variety of things, relative to our clothing and 
nourishment, been provided beforehand, and had we 
not found persons who condescended to take care of us 
in that state of weakness in which we were totally des- 
titute of all things ; or rather, if our heavenly Father 
had not watched over our preservation. He took care 
of us when we were in our mother's womb, where no 
human wisdom or diligence could have provided for us. 
His hands formed, arranged, and connected all the mem- 
bers of our bodies. He pointed out to the veins the 
course they should run, and filled them with the vital 
fluid. "He has clothed us with skin and flesh, and 
fenced us with bones and sinews," Job x. 2. "We were 
a shapeless mass ; but the Almighty fashioned us, and, 
uniting a rational and intelligent spirit with our bodies, 
made a human creature worthy of himself, for he 
stamped it with his own image. The same kind provi- 
dence, which presided over our formation, has never for- 
gotten us, but continued to watch over us with paternal 
care. At our entrance into the world we were provided 
with tender and faithful friends, who received us with 
extraordinary affection, and who spared neither trouble 
nor expense to do us good. These faithful friends were 
our parents. What miserable creatures must we have 
been, had not our heavenly Father inspired them with 
such disinterested love for us ! But could even this love 
have availed, had these parents been destitute of the 
means to assist us ? The more they loved us, the more 
insupportable their indigence would have been, and the 
more miserable they must have felt, while destitute of 
the power to supply our wants. But God took care 
that they should have everything that was necessary for 
us precisely at the time in which it was needed. 

But the tender care of the Lord extended far beyond 
the moment of our birth. He then laid the foundation 
of our future happiness. Poor and despicable creatures ! 
we neither knew nor could know, at that time, what our 
lot should be. But all was perfectly known to him. 
He saw the whole of our life, with the future and con- 
tingent events which concerned it, together with all 
their consequences and references. He knew what 
would be most advantageous to us, regulated our lot ac- 


cordingly, and determined at the same time on the means 
which he purposed to employ in order to procure us that 
felicity which his mercy designed. From our birth the 
causes existed which were to influence our future happi- 
ness, and began then to act conformably to the Divine 
views. How much did the happiness of our lives de- 
pend on our parents — their manner of thinking, their 
circumstances in life, their connexions, &c. ! How 
much did the education we received, the examples we 
had before us, the connexions we formed, the oppoj- 
tunities we had of exercising our powers and unfolding 
our talents, influence the happiness of our whole life ! 

And did not the wisdom and goodness of God our 
Father appoint, regulate, and conduct every advanta- 
geous circumstance ? We could not choose our own 
parents, nor appoint their situation in life. The choice 
of the masters and friends we had in our youth did not 
depend wholly on our parents ; and whatever their pru- 
dence and attention might have been, they themselves 
were dependant on circumstances and opportunities. It 
was God who managed all those conjunctions which 
have proved so advantageous to us. It was he who 
watched over our happiness, and who in his great good- 
ness directed and controlled all events which might 
prove favourable or unfavourable to our well-being. He 
foresaw and determined everything ; and all his dispen- 
sations towards us were acts of wisdom and mercy. He 
knew what adversities would be useful to us, and ap- 
pointed what their sources should be, when they should 
begin, when they should end, and the advantages we 
should derive from them. All these causes acted for 
some time in secret ; by degrees they were developed ; 
and in many instances we have already seen how neces- 
sary our losses and afflictions were to our welfare. But 
they could not have had these salutary effects without 
the concurrence of many causes which acted remotely a 
long time before, and were utterly unknown to us. 
In a word, the Divine goodness has wisely directed 
all the events of our life, so as to be most beneficial 
to us. 

These reflections should fill our souls with confidence 
and tranquillity. What can be more consolatory than to 


be persuaded that an invisible Being takes care of us ; a 
Being who is infinitely good, wise, and powerful ; who 
has watched over us from the moment of our birth ; and 
who from that hour determined and regulated every- 
thing necessary for us, during the course of our lives ; 
who has counted our days, and fixed the term of our 
life, so that no human power can change it; and who, 
from the first moment of our existence, has provided 
everything necessary for our present and eternal happi- 
ness ? The confidence and peace which rest on this 
basis must be immoveable. 



Every man dies precisely at the time that God has 
appointed in his eternal wisdom. As the time of our 
birth is fixed, so also is the time of our death. But the 
term of our life is not subject to fatality, nor inevitable 
necessity ; such things have no existence. All that oc- 
curs may happen sooner or later, or not take place at all. 
And it is always possible that the man who died to-day 
might have died sooner, or might have lived a much 
longer time. God has not fixed man's days by an arbi- 
trary or absolute decree, without taking in the circum- 
stances in which he might be found. He is an infinitely 
wise Being, who never acts but from motives worthy of 
himself. He therefore must have just reasons to induce 
him to determine that such a man should leave the world 
at such a time rather than at another. But although 
the term of life be in itself neither influenced by neces- 
sity nor fatality, it is nevertheless certain, and can never 
be really changed. 

When a man dies, there are always some causes which 
infallibly lead to his death ; but these may be always 
suspended or changed by the Supreme Being. One dies 
of a mortal disease ; another, by a sudden and unfore- 
seen accident. One perishes by fire ; another, by water. 
God has foreseen all these causes ; nor is he an idle and 
indifferent spectator in the business ; he has examined 


them all with care ; he has compared them with his own 
purposes, and sees whether he can approve them or not. 
If approved, they are consequently determined, and in 
that case there exists a divine decree, in virtue of which 
the man dies of such and such an accident, and in such 
a particular time. This decree can neither be revoked 
nor prevented ; for the same reasons which God has at 
present for removing a man from this world were known 
to him from all eternity ; and he formed the same judg- 
ment then of it which he does now. What, therefore, 
should induce him to alter his purpose ? 

But it may so happen, that God, foreseeing the causes 
of the death of a particular person, did not approve of 
them. In this case he must, at least, have determined 
to permit them, without which they could not take place, 
nor could the man die. But if the permission of those 
causes of death 'were resolved on, God wills, therefore, 
that we should die in the time in which those causes 
shall exist. It is possible that he might have been in- 
clined to grant us longer life, and did not approve the 
cause of our death ; but it was not consistent with his 
wisdom to counteract the operation of those causes. He 
views the universe collectively, and finds reasons to in- 
duce him to permit the death of a certain person at a 
particular time, although he approve not the causes, 
manner, and circumstances of that death. His wisdom 
finds means to direct that death to the most useful pur- 
poses ; or he foresaw that a longer life, in that person's 
circumstances, would neither be useful to himself nor to 
the world ; or, lastly, he saw that in order to prevent 
that death there must be a new and different combina- 
tion of things — a combination which could not accord 
with the general plan of the universe, and which would 
have prevented a greater good from taking place. In a 
word, although God may sometimes disapprove the 
causes of a man's death, he has nevertheless wise and 
just reasons to permit them to take place ; and, conse- 
quently, to purpose that the man shall die at that time, 
and by those means. 

These considerations are calculated to make us look 
on death with Christian fortitude. What renders death 
formidable is, chiefly, the uncertainty of the manner and 


time of our leaving the world. If we knew, beforehand, 
when and what manner of death we should die, we 
should probably wait for it with more courage, and fear 
it less in its approaches. Now nothing can be more effi- 
cacious to calm and strengthen our mind than the per- 
suasion that Divine Providence watches over our lives ; 
and that, from the foundation of the world, he has de- 
termined, with infinite wisdom and goodness, the time, 
manner, and circumstances of our death. The term of 
our lives is therefore appointed, and no man can die 
sooner or later than God has determined, for the good 
even of the person himself; for each person dies pre- 
cisely at the time in which it is most to his own advan- 
tage. An almighty Providence watches over our days ; 
it lengthens or shortens them as it judges will be most 
profitable to the children of God, not only in reference 
to this world, but also in reference to eternity. Fully 
persuaded of this consolatory truth, we may wait for 
death with a tranquil mind ; and seeing the hour is un- 
certain, let us be found constantly ready to meet it. It 
certainly will not appear till God judges it most expe- 1 - 
dient. It is true, we know not what kind of death 
we shall die, nor the circumstances of it ; but it is suf- 
ficient to know that we cannot die but in that way in 
which the beneficent Governor of the world sees it will 
be best for ourselves, and for all those who appertain to 
us. Fortified by this thought, let us proceed without 
anxiety on our earthly pilgrimage ; let us cheerfully 
submit to all the dispensations of Providence, and never 
fear any danger to which the performance of our duty 
may expose us. 



There is nothing in nature whose state and mode of 
being is not liable to change. Everything is the sport 
of frailty and inconstancy, and nothing is so durable 
as to continue always like itself. The most solid bodies 
are not so impenetrable, nor their parts so closely con- 


nected, as to be exempt from dissolution and destruction. 
Every particle of matter changes its form insensibly. 
How many changes have our bodies undergone since 
they were formed in our mother's womb ! We annually 
lose something of what we formerly were, and gain as 
many new particles from the animal, vegetable, or mine- 
ral kingdom. Everything on earth increases and de* 
creases by turns; but with this difference, that these 
changes do not operate so speedily in some bodies as in 

The celestial bodies appear now the same that they 
were from the beginning, and these are probably the 
most invariable of all bodies. Nevertheless, accurate 
observers have noticed that certain stars have disap- 
peared; and the variableness of the spots on the sun's 
face prove, that even that luminary is in some respects 
subject to the general law of mutability. Besides, his 
motion renders him subject to several variations; and 
although he is never extinct, yet he has often been ob- 
scured by fogs, clouds, and perhaps by internal revolu- 
tions also. This is all that we can know, in the almost 
immeasurable distance we are from him. How many 
other changes, both external and internal, might present 
themselves to our eyes, were we near enough to that 
luminary, we cannot tell. If the instability of terres- 
trial things strike us more, this is because we are so nigh 
them. And how frail are they ! And how subject to 
change ! The object continues to resemble itself; and 
nevertheless it is different from what it once was. We 
daily see the things here below under new forms ; some 
increase, others diminish and perish. 

The year which will come to its close in about two 
days has furnished us with incontestable proofs of this. 
Even in the little circle in which we are confined, how 
many revolutions have taken place ! Many of those 
whom we have known for many years are no more. 
Many whom we have known to be rich are now become 
poor, or at least reduced to straitened circumstances. 
And if we examine ourselves, shall we not find that in 
many respects we also have been changed. Have not 
our health and activity suffered considerable decrease ? 
And do not all these alterations indicate that the great 


and last revolution which death shall work in us is at 
hand ? Besides, how many things happen in this and 
the two following days of this year ! We may become 
poorer than we are, be attacked by sickness, experience 
the unfaithfulness of reputed friends, or even die in this 
short space of time ; at least it is certain that circum- 
stances may occur which it was impossible for us to 

Reflections of this nature might well distress us, or 
even drive us to despair, if we could not derive support 
and consolation from religion. But this leads us to the 
only, invariable, and eternal Being, whose very nature is 
unchangeable. This immutable Being must be to eter- 
nity-just what he is. Therefore his mercy endures for 
ever, and his righteousness from generation to generation. 
May this truth be ever present with us, that it may soften 
the disagreeable vicissitudes which we continually meet 
with here below ! How happy will it be for us, if all 
these revolutions, which days, years, and times bring with 
them, lead us nearer to the Supreme Good, and to the 
state of everlasting glory and felicity ! " Thus, full of 
confidence in his invariable goodness, we will submit 
with resignation to all the changes and chances of this 
mortal life ; all our souls shall rejoice in him, who is the 
immutable Being, our Light, our Rock, and our sure 



The approaching close of the year should lead us to 
make some reflections, which, however important, do not 
always occupy us as they ought. In order to feel more 
sensibly how short the course of our life is, let us now 
examine how we have spent the days that are past, though 
we have much reason to believe this will be to us a sub- 
ject of humiliation and confusion. 

Let us first consider those days, to regulate the use of 
which was utterly out of our power. How many hours 
of this year have we employed in eating, drinking, and 


sleeping ; in a word, in caring for the body, and pro 
Tiding for its various necessities! How many hours 
more- have been spent in almost useless occupations-, or 
at least such as were of no use to our immortal souls ; 
for instance, in unnecessary journies, in disagreeable 
company, and in long and fatiguing meals ! How many 
hours have we spent in uncertainty, and consequently 
in inaction ! How much time have we lost in examining 
intricate questions and embarrassed affairs, in weighing 
the pros and cons before we resolved to act in certain 
important matters ! And how many hours have we lost 
in the expectation of particular advantages ! Thus, in 
taking but even a superficial view of the use we have 
made of this year, we find that a multitude of days have 
been lost to that immortal spirit which inhabits this clay 
tenement ; and after this deduction, how little remains 
of the year which we can say has been employed for real 
life ! It is evident that out of 365 days there are 
scarcely fifty of which we can say, " These are ours ; we 
have employed them in the great interests of our souls, 
and in the acquisition of eternal felicity." And of this 
small remaining number of days, how many hours have 
we lost by our folly or frailty ! Alas ! how much time 
has been sacrificed to vice, or tainted by sin ! God of 
mercy ! how humiliating is this thought ! how proper to 
confound us ! On this subject, nothing but the ever 
salutary doctrine of the merit of thy Son can calm our 
terror, or snatch us from eternal misery ! 

How many of those hours, which the paternal love of 
God gave us to be employed in our eternal interests, 
have been foolishly lavished away, and that with the 
blackest ingratitude ! Precious hours ! during which, 
alas, we have wandered far from this most compassionate 
and best of Parents ! Can we not reckon many hours 
which we have sacrificed to the world, to vanity, to in* 
dolence, to false pleasures ; which we have profaned by 
impurity, envy, jealousy, backbiting, and other vices, 
which betray a heart destitute of proper love and respect 
to God, and of charity to our neighbour ? And have we 
never spent any of that time which we should have em- 
ployed in advancing the kingdom of Christ, in opposition 
to the divine counsels, in disturbing the peace of society, 


and distracting his church ? And even since God has 
brought us to a better mind, and inspired us with a de- 
sire to walk in his ways, how many days have we irre- 
coverably lost, which should have been employed in that 
religion which was our glory, and which pointed out the 
path that led to eternal happiness ! How have we been 
injured by distractions, coldness, barrenness of souls, 
doubts, inquietudes, want of temper, and impurity of 
mind ! These and many other infirmities, the conse- 
quences of improper conduct, the frailty of the body, the 
weakness of the mind, or the strength of old htibits, 
have often disgraced those who have made some consider- 
able progress in the ways of God. Now by all these 
things our piety is injured, the progress of our happi- 
ness retarded, and our graces greatly weakened or de- 
stroyed ! Lastly, with what speed does the little portion 
of time which we can dispose of fly away ! A year 
is gone, and we have scarcely perceived it! And of 
what importance is a year to a being whose real life may 
be reckoned by hours ! We have scarcely thought 
seriously of it, till another year is slipped by. Had we 
employed this year in the work of our salvation, we 
should not desire to recall it either in whole or in part. 
But now that we find that so little of it has been spent 
in the great purposes for which it was given, we wish to 
recall that part at least of which we have made the worst 
use. But it is in vain ; the year closes, and all the good 
and bad actions which have marked it are swallowed up 
in eternity ! 

Father of mercies, reconcile us to thyself by Christ 
Jesus ; and grant that this mispent year may not become 
a subject of anguish to us on our death-bed, nor the 
cause of our perdition through eternity ! Pardon, O 
pardon all sins, which we have this year unhappily com- 
mitted against thee ! And grant us mercy ! — mercy, at 
the hour of death ; mercy, in the day of judgment ; and 
mercy through all eternity ! 





Lord, thou art the God of time ; thou art also God 
of eternity ! I will sing a joyous hymn to thy praise ; 
I will celebrate thy holy name. A year is finishing its 
course. To what do I owe the continuation of my 
existence ? It is to thy grace alone, and to thy paternal 
bounty ! 

Being of beings, receive my adoration ! Everlasting 
Lord, thou canst not vary ; but as for us, poor and feeble 
mortals, we have been, are now, and shall be dust. 
Thou alone art incapable of change. Thou hast been, 
thou art, and thou shalt be to eternity ! 

Lord, thy faithfulness endures from generation to 
generation ; thy mercy is new every morning ; there is 
not a moment of my life in which thou hast not given 
me some new blessing. 

Thou hast led me, by thy fatherly care, through the 
year which is now ending ; when my heart became a 
prey to anxiety and distress, thou didst pour out thy con- 
solations, and didst haste to my succour. I will praise 
thee ! I will exalt thee, from the ground of my heart ! 
I will cast myself anew on thy unerring guidance and 
merciful support. 

Pardon, O my God ! pardon the innumerable offences 
which I have committed against thee in the days that 
are past ! And let me once more, for the sake of Jesus, 
experience thy paternal support ! Teach me to do thy 
will ; teach me to please thee as long as I live ! 

Inspire me with new zeal, and grant me new strength 
to walk before thee in the paths of righteousness ! Make 
me attentive to thy voice in my conscience ! Quicken 
me, and sanctify my heart by thy Spirit ; that, being filled 
with love, and detached from the world, it may ever be 
united unto thee, O thou Sovereign Good ! 

The world and its enjoyments flee away ; in it there- 
fore, I should seek no happiness. Even here below I 


may aspire after pure joys. I am related to angels ; my 
patrimony is heaven ; grant, God, that I may inces- 
santly aspire after it ! 

O my God ! teach me to redeem the time, and to 
walk with holy circumspection in the way which leads 
to eternity ! Condescend to alleviate the burden of life, 
till I reach that happy period, in which I shall rest 
from my labours, and my repose be interrupted no more !